The Eagles concluded their Varsity Tennis Season with a fantastic 4th place finish at the Division 3 State Finals in Novi this past weekend. It is the first trip to the Finals in 4 years and one of the highest finishes the team has had.
Of the 8 flights, 6 of the 8 were seeded: #2, #3, and #4 Singles, Senior Co-Captains Tyler Stafford and Marcus Haveman, and Sophomore Alex Lowell were the #4, #5, and #5 seeds, respectively. Freshman Simon Volkema was unseeded at #1 Singles, a loaded flight this year. In Doubles, #2, #3, and #4 flights of Senior Jack Zwiers/Sophomore Grant Moorhead, Senior James VanHekken/Freshman Tanner Warners, and Senior Sawyer Masselink/Junior Eli Kuiper were all seeded fifth in their respective flights. Seniors Caleb Betten/Josh Jacobsen were unseeded. Impressively, every single flight earned points for the Eagles. By every flight winning their first round match, the Eagles shot out to 15 points guaranteeing the team a Top 10 Finish on the first day.
An amazing 5 Flights advanced to the State Semifinals. At #2 Singles, Stafford held his seed by defeating Petoskey in the Quarterfinals before falling to eventual State Champion Cranbrook. Haveman had the matches of his career in the State Finals, avenging an earlier season loss to St. Clair in a grueling 3 set match. In the Semi Finals, he carried a lead over the #1 seed 5-4 in the first set after starting out with a 3-0 lead. But Cranbrook was saved by the weather, as rain arrived forcing the match inside to Cranbrook’s advantage as the eventual State Champion at that flight. Alex Lowell had a fantastic Finals, beating Petoskey for the third time this season en route to a Semifinal finish falling to the eventual Champion Cranbrook. At #1, Volkema more than did his part, coming back from one set down to defeat Petoskey, earning a crucial 2 points before falling to the eventual Champion Cranbrook.
In Doubles, all of the teams earned points as well. At #1 Betten/Jacobsen started the scoring off for the Eagles, winning a tough early match in rough temperatures before falling to #1 Seed FHE. At #2 Doubles, Zwiers/Moorhead avenged a loss earlier in the season by beating the #4 Seed FHE in straight sets before falling to eventual Champion Cranbrook. The pair saved their best for last, as FHE was out of the match from the beginning. At #3 Doubles, VanHekken/Warners won their first match with a tough opponent in St. Clair before falling again to rival FHE. The pair demonstrated terrific sportsmanship against a team at FHE who often failed to show the same respect to the Eagles. Finally, #4 Doubles, having some of the toughest opponents of the day, beat a very good Parma Western team before avenging a loss to FHE at the Conference Finals in straight sets. Cranbrook was again saved by the weather, as Masselink/Kuiper carried a lead as play was halted on the first day into the second day. Cranbrook was the Champion in that flight as well, but had the weather to thank as the pair played their best matches of the season at the right time.
The careers of 8 Seniors concluded on Saturday: Stafford, Haveman, Betten, Jacobsen, Zwiers, VanHekken, Masselink, and 6 Doubles Drew Vandlen. It will be extremely hard to replace them. They played outstanding tennis but more importantly, they were excellent teammates and represented the school exceptionally well. Notably, the team was one point behind EGR who had 21 and needed a Championship run from their #1 Doubles team to finish ahead of the Eagles, and the Eagles again proved better than Eastern, who finished a distant 6 points behind. Congratulations Eagles!