On Saturday, May 8, the varsity boys tennis team headed to Berry College in Rome, Georgia to compete in the state finals against region rival Lovett.
The boys knew that it would be a tough match. Having played Lovett twice before this year, beating them 3-2 in the regular season but losing 1-4 in the region tournament, the Knights were keen on winning the best of three. “We went into the finals feeling pretty confident,” said sophomore and No. 2 singles player Hunt Stevens.
The Pace lineup for the state championship was different than the lineup during the regular season. While senior Matt Genser usually plays in the No. 1 or 2 singles spot, for the match against Lovett he was moved over to No. 2 doubles. Freshman William McMullen was promoted to No. 1 singles and senior Eli Mautner, who normally plays No. 1 doubles, played No. 3 singles. This left senior Jordy Elster and juniors Jude Black and Cole Kaplan playing doubles, positions they have played regularly throughout the season.
But, despite the changes and after a fierce competition, the boys ultimately placed second to Lovett. McMullen, Stevens and Mautner all played valiantly, putting up strong fights, but they each came up short to the Lovett players. Mautner, in particular, played two extremely close sets, losing by margins of only 6-4 and 7-5.
Kaplan and Elster secured Pace’s only win, beating the Lovett No. 1 doubles 6-3 and 7-5. Due to the loss of three matches before the completion of No. 2 doubles, Genser and Black were unable to complete their match.
Overall, the boys worked hard and were able to complete a sucessful season. “We played really well and it came very close,” said Kaplan. “Although we lost, it was still amazing to see how much everyone improved and rose to the challenge.”
“There were some great memories; the blood, sweat and tears really paid off,” said Stevens.