Westborough boys tennis defeats Mansfield, heads to semifinals


Westborough boys tennis defeats Mansfield, heads to semifinals
Westborough has moved onto the MIAA Division 2 semifinals. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

WESTBOROUGH – As Westborough Head Coach Leonard O’Neil checked in on his players, an opponent managed to get his attention.

“Coach, how do I beat this guy?” the opposing player lightheartedly asked, speaking about his competition, Westborough No. 1 singles player Kaden Chen.

“I don’t know,” O’Neil said. “I still haven’t figured it out.”

Chen and the rest of the top-seeded Westborough Rangers boys tennis team were in prime form on Thursday afternoon, defeating the visiting No. 8 Mansfield Hornets 5-0 in the quarterfinals. With the win, Westborough will face No. 4 Wayland in a semifinal match, putting the Rangers on the doorstep of reaching their fourth consecutive MIAA Division 2 state championship game. 

“We’ve reached [the semifinals] before, but they’ve worked hard. They don’t think they’re done. In order to not be done, they have to check this box off, and they checked it off. They worked hard. We have a lot of different doubles combinations; everybody has played and contributed at points. It’s legitimately a team. There are only seven players out there, but everyone has contributed. They worked really hard, challenging each other, and not getting complacent,” O’Neil told the Community Advocate after the win over Mansfield. 

Chen, a sophomore who has earned Midland-Wachusett Division A MVP honors in each of his two seasons and is yet to be defeated this year, beat his questioning competitor, Neema Khosravani, to the tune of 6-0, 6-0. Srinjoy Ghosh, Westborough’s captain and No. 2 singles player, scored another few bagels, topping Mansfield’s Nikhil Nain 6-0, 6-0.

The rest of the Westborough team was equally as dominant. Jordan Hlawek, the team’s No. 3 singles player, defeated Mansfield’s Iniyan Karupussamy 6-1, 6-0 in the matchup’s longest contest. The two doubles teams were also strong: No. 1 pairing Brendan Estaphan and Eehab Khan defeated Mansfield’s Jake Weiner and Josh Weiner 6-0, 6-1, while No. 2 Westborough duo Michael Ku and Tyler Lattanzio took down Justin Curtis and Kingston Carey 6-2, 6-1. 

While Westborough won convincingly, for O’Neil it’s not about the score — it’s how the players looked. And they looked very good, he said. 

“Everybody pulls their own weight. Everybody contributes,” he said. “The score is not relevant; it’s how they played. They played sharp, with a couple minor errors, but they were on point. We’re working on… different things, and what we were working on it’s showing. That’s what I was looking at.”

O’Neil characterized the win as a complete team effort. As the team shared snacks and conversation after the win, it was clear the Rangers are a close-knit bunch – a close-knit bunch that O’Neil has worked to shape into not just excellent tennis players, but exceptional young adults.  

“Team chemistry is pretty good. They’re a good bunch of kids. They get along with each other. They like being around each other. They hang out outside of tennis. They’re a great bunch of young men, and I’m proud of them. The seniors have accomplished great things. They’re going to great schools, and they’ve all got great plans. We don’t just talk about tennis. We talk about how to comport yourself as a young man,” O’Neil said.

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