Allegan claims third straight league championship
The final tune-up prior to the Wolverine Conference Tournament didn’t go the way members of the Allegan boys’ tennis team would have liked as the Tigers settled for a 4-4 tie with Zeeland East.
Would there be any carryover effect from that performance to the league tourney?
In a word, no.
The Tigers won five flight championships and finished third in two others to collect 65 points and outdistance runner-up Sturgis by five points.
The conference title is the third in a row for the Tigers and their 29th overall since the league was formed.
Plainwell finished fifth with 42 points, while Otsego was ninth with 20 points.
“It was a good day for us after our disappointing match on Tuesday,” Allegan coach Gary Ellis said. “The guys did a nice job refocusing in practice and competed well in the tournament.”
Three of the flight championships came in doubles, as the top three Allegan teams each took top honors.
Allegan’s No. 1 doubles team of Alex Babbitt and Zach Sisson dropped just five total games in its three matches, culminating with a 6-0, 6-1 over Sturgis’ Isaac Harper and Ethan Andrews. The No. 2 team of Zach Lang and Lukas Vlietstra dropped a total of six games as they bested Paw Paw’s Charlie Tapper and Ben Hulst in the finals.
At No. 3 doubles, the Allegan team of Owen Clearwater and Walker Michaels cruised in their first two matches, losing a total of one game. In the finals, though, the pair had a tough battle with Plainwell’s Justin Anderson and Reece Comerford before posting the 6-1, 7-6 (1) victory.
“All three of those teams struggled a bit against Zeeland East on Tuesday, but returned to the outstanding tennis they have played throughout most of the season,” Ellis said. “They did a great job controlling the net and center of the court. I was very impressed with how well they worked together and dictated most of the points. It was a good day for them.”
The other flight titles came from Kody Harrington at No. 3 singles and Zeke Carter at No. 4 singles.
Harrington’s path to the championship included wins of 6-0, 6-1 and 6-0, 6-0 in the first two rounds before upending Sturgis’ Nico Ledema 6-0, 6-3 in the finals.
“Kody has been doing nothing but steadily getting better this year and his match in the finals was evidence of how far he has come,” Ellis said. “This was his best match of the season against a strong player. Kody played with his usual determination, steadiness and control, but showed he is very capable of adding power to his game.”
Carter’s 6-0, 6-0 win over Three Rivers’ Tim Lingk in the finals followed wins of 6-2, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-1 in the earlier rounds.
“It was a big day for Zeke,” Ellis said. “Early in the season he moved from doubles into the singles line-up. He spent the early part of the season making the adjustment and had some ups and downs, but he really pulled it all together yesterday. He did a nice job reducing his unforced errors and working to control the points. He played with a great deal of confidence and just didn’t let his opponents get into the match.”
Brandon Day finished third for Allegan at No. 2 singles, as did the No. 4 doubles team of Jack Nahikian and Korbin Sisson.
Tyler Aldrich, playing for the first time since late August due to an injury, placed fourth at No. 1 singles. He won his opening match, but was held out of the semifinals as a precaution heading into regionals.