Long after the sun had been concealed behind the dark clouds hanging over Wrentham and shortly before the rain started to fall, King Philip’s Nick Bariola and Attleboro’s Brian Lussier were still returning volleys back and forth in their third singles match.
With the other 12 starters from both teams watching from outside of the KP court, each player grabbed set before the two coaches decided to go to the super tie-breaker rules (first player to secure ten points with at least a two point cushion). Lussier had opened the match with a 6-4 victory before Bariola bounced back to even the match with a 6-3 win.
Bariola would capture the super tie breaker with a 10-7 victory, giving the Warriors a 5-0 sweep over Attleboro.
“I would say that more than half of his matches have gone to three sets,” KP Coach Laurie Puddester said. “I told him to grind it out and he’s taken it literally, but at least he’s winning.”
With his three-set victory, Bariola has improved to 6-1 while playing third singles on the year.
Before Bariola and Lussier had even finished their first match, the Warriors second doubles tandem of Christian Fair and Christian Goner took care of Attleboro’s Saquib Chaudhery and Shawn Nguon (who happened to be playing in his first ever varsity match) rather swiftly. King Philip’s second doubles team would secure the first points on the afternoon with a 6-0, 6-1 win.
Matt Nicholson, playing for the gold and green, would soon after pick up KP’s second point of the day with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Attleboro’s Eric Harris at second singles.
Attleboro had lost six of its seven tennis players from last year’s squad with Harris being this year’s only senior. Nicholson’s swift work of Harris improved his record to 11-2 in the Hockomock League.
Also improving to 11-2 in the Hock was KP’s ace, Mike McCarthy. The Warriors' first singles player dispatched the Rocketeers' Matt Forest 6-0, 6-1 to pick up his eleventh Hockomock League victory.
Rounding out the scoring was the doubles team of Ian Pimental and Jon Marinelli. KP’s top doubles team defeated Anil Mahesh and Samir Yusuf by the score of 6-2 and 6-1, remaining undefeated on the season at 8-0.
The win improved KP to 13-3 overall and 11-1 in the Hock. KP will wrap up a contest against Foxboro Tuesday already leading 2-0 thanks in part to McCarthy and Nicholson. The third singles match and both doubles matches will conclude at KP if there is no rain and, if Mother Nature does intervene, the matches will be at the Adirondack Club in Franklin.
KP, who has already claimed stake in the Rex-Kelley Division of the Hockomock League, will travel to Sharon on Wednesday to play Sharon (the Davenport Division Champs) in the Hockomock League crossover.
“Going up against a tough team like Sharon will get us ready for the playoffs,” the KP coach said. “You want to play good competition; that’s how you get better.”