WESTFIELD – The West Sectional Division 1 boys’ tennis quarterfinal swung on every serve, every lob, every slice, every backhand and forehand.
Westfield’s top singles player, senior Tristin Viale spun another gem and Jalen Bodendorf won at third singles, but at the day’s end the third-seeded Bombers fell to the No. 6 Minnechaug Falcons 3-2.
All but one of the matches was decided in three sets.
“It couldn’t have been any closer,” Westfield coach John Morizio said.
Viale, the 2017 individual championship runner-up, defeated James Leone, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2. It was a rematch of the individual tournament semifinals.
“It was a tough match,” Viale said. “We both knew each other … I made adjustments from the last time we played. He made adjustments to my adjustments. The third set was fair game and I pulled out on top.”
Viale used his topspin forehand – a technique he began to develop in ping-pong at a very young age – to overwhelm Leone.
Bodendorf proved to be a success for Westfield at third singles, downing Dan Garza, 6-3, 7-6, (7-5).
Shayne Holloway fell to Kyle Biermann, 2-6, 3-6.
Westfield’s first doubles pair, Lyle Libanan and Matt Roberts lost 6-4, 1-6, 4-6; Bombers’ Jim Knapik and Joey Burzynski fell 7-5, 6-7, (1-7), 4-6.
“It just goes to show the level of parity and how close skill-level wise the majority of the matchups were,” said Westfield assistant coach Pete Morizio, also noting his second doubles’ team’s impressive near-victory.
Both coaches also praised the impressive display of sportsmanship shown by both teams throughout the entire quarterfinal match.