Finals bound: Westborough boys tennis tops Wayland to head to championship match

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Finals bound: Westborough boys tennis tops Wayland to head to championship match
Westborough’s Srinjoy Ghosh eyes the tennis ball. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

SHREWSBURY – Everything led to this moment for Westborough boys tennis.

In November, Westborough started to form its schedule, reaching out to teams throughout the state. In December, the final details fell into place, months ahead of the start of practice in March. In April, the season officially began, and in the following two months, the players spent six days per week – for an average of two hours per day – practicing, traveling around Massachusetts to compete, and repeating the process all over again.

It’s taken energy, effort, and time – lots and lots of time – but it has all been worth it for Westborough. On June 10, the top-seeded Rangers took down the No. 4 Wayland Warriors, 4-1, in the MIAA Division 2 semifinals. With the win, Westborough will play in the state championship for the fourth consecutive year. The match, which has yet to be officially scheduled, is expected to be played on Saturday.

Finals bound: Westborough boys tennis tops Wayland to head to championship match
Westborough’s Jordan Hlawek returns the ball to the Wayland player. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

It’s as the saying goes: Hard work pays off.

“If you looked at my lawn, you’d see how much energy and effort I spend on tennis,” Head Coach Leonard O’Neil said.

The usual suspects dominated early for the Rangers. Kaden Chen, Westborough’s No. 1 singles player and back-to-back Mid-Wach-A MVP, was first off the court, extending his unbeaten streak for the season. Srinjoy Ghosh, the team’s No. 2 singles player and senior captain, left the court shortly after Chen with another short-but-sweet, straight-set victory. The two have pushed each other and led the team forward all season.

Finals bound: Westborough boys tennis tops Wayland to head to championship match
Eehab Khan and Brendan Estaphan high-five after winning a point. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

“What’s not to like? They’re good, and they push each other in practice. They’re not just good teammates, but good leaders,” said O’Neil.

“It feels like a relief [to reach the championship]. Our expectations are so high, and not getting there would not sit right for us. I’m really proud of the team,” said Ghosh, who has now reached the title match in each of his four seasons of Westborough High School tennis.

With Chen and Ghosh clearing the nearest two courts, the crowd at Saint John’s High School in Shrewsbury moved to the doubles matches. Brendan Estaphan and Eehab Khan – the Rangers’ No. 1 doubles duo – took out their Wayland competitors in two competitive sets. On the next courts, No. 2 duo Michael Ku and Tyler Lattanzio handled their competition. While Wayland defeated No. 3 singles player Jordan Hlawek to bring the score to 4-1, Westborough had already won the match, and the team gathered around to support Hlawek after the competition ended.

Finals bound: Westborough boys tennis tops Wayland to head to championship match
Kaden Chen hits the ball. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

“I’m really grateful for this opportunity. It’s not really common for such a team to go to the championship multiple times, let alone win a championship. I just think our team has been working really hard this year. We’ll give it our 100% [in the championship], and we’ll see what happens,” said Chen.

Westborough will face the No. 3 Duxbury Dragons in the championship – the same team the Rangers lost to in the finals last year. Yet, Westborough has reason to be confident heading in. Duxbury was the top-seeded team last year, but this time around, the Rangers enter the championship as the No. 1 seed. Plus, on May 10, Westborough defeated the Dragons on their home court, 3-2, in regular season action.

Finals bound: Westborough boys tennis tops Wayland to head to championship match
Westborough’s Eehab Khan gets ready to hit the ball. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

“It’s a state championship. Different kinds of nerves. Different setting. We’ve played them a bunch before and we’ll give it our best effort,” Ghosh said.

“I want the boys to do well, win or lose. I want to go out there and play well, leave it all on the court, and we’ll see where the cards fall,” said O’Neil.

Finals bound: Westborough boys tennis tops Wayland to head to championship match
Westborough’s Michael Ku (right) and Tyler Lattanzio (left) celebrate after winning a point. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

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