Bedford boys take out Alvirne

Crummy weather and a first-round loss weren’t enough to keep the smile off Michael Coulter’s face.

The Alvirne boys tennis coach remained positive even after his team’s 9-0 loss to Bedford in the quarterfinals of the Division I playoffs. The Broncos (7-7) missed the postseason last year, but earned the eighth seed this season. As a result, the Broncos were just happy to be there.

“Definitely an unexpected season,” Coulter said. “We had a surprise from Brazil (No. 2 player Raul Stedile) which really helped out the team. We had more depth, and it makes it easier on me when there are more players.”

The Broncos used a 6-2 stretch in their final eight matches to squeeze into the playoffs. The team tempered their expectations, though, knowing they had a tough matchup against the undefeated defending champion.

“Bedford’s a tough team,” Coulter said. “They’re deep, and I knew it was going to be a hard match. Our guys came out and played, though. The seniors left all they had on the court, and I’m very pleased with them.”

Stedile nearly earned the Broncos their only victory in his singles match, but ended up blowing a 6-3 lead to Bedford’s Ian Horne. The Broncos eventually dropped all of their singles matches, but still got solid efforts from Matt O’Brien (1-8 to Dan Soucy), Jared Whalen (1-8 Andrew Allen), Colin Calnan (0-8 to Zach Anderson), Sam Bonney-Liles (0-8 to Zach Gould) and Henry Williams (2-8 to Gurudeep Machupalli).

The pairings of O’Brien/Stedile and Bonney-Liles/Williams each lost their doubles match, 8-2. Andrew Wetmore and Brett Richardson teamed up for Alvirne’s third doubles match, falling 8-0. In spite of the sweep, Bedford coach Shawna Morley was impressed by what she saw.

“Alvirne’s a strong team,” she said. “It comes down to Mike’s attitude about enjoying the game. You can see it in his players; they’re having fun. This team is going to be strong for years to come.”

The Broncos will be losing their top player, O’Brien, to graduation. Still, Coulter agrees that the team will be successful again soon.

“I finished up last year with nine guys,” Coulter said. “This season we’ve got 17 guys. I’ve also heard there are some eighth graders that are supposed to be very good. So I’m very excited for next year.”