Boys tennis reaches state title match

MANCHESTER – A few weeks ago, Hollis Brookline junior Cole Lorig couldn’t have envisioned the spot he’d be in last Thursday.

But there he was, on the courts at Manchester West High School, with a chance to get the clincher to put the Cavaliers back in the Division II finals.

Lorig didn’t disappoint, as he finished off Windham’s Luke Darcy 8-4 at No. 6 singles, the last match on the courts, to give the unbeaten Cavaliers (16-0) their fifth point in an 8-1 win over the Jaguars.

“I didn’t think I’d ever be in that situation,” said Lorig, who was inserted into the lineup the last week or two when David Cherkassky became unavailable. “That was exciting. This is a cool moment.”

Top ranked HB was to face No. 2 Portsmouth (15-1) in the finals Thursday at Bedford. The Clippers vanquished defending champion Souhegan, which beat the Cavs in last year’s finals.

“Cole’s been my seventh, and he’s played very well,” HB coach Jim McCann said. “He’s been very consistent, great footwork.”

McCann’s Cavaliers had to gut this one out. Nic Vahe and Darius Paradie topped Windham’s Parker Andreoli and Matt Ryan, 8-4 and 8-3 at Nos. 1 and 2 singles. Windham bounced back as Adrian Niceforo rallied from down 5-2 to beat HB’s Ben Zielinski 8-6 at No. 4 to make it 2-1.

But then the dominoes fell Hollis Brookline’s way. Alex Anghel, down 3-0, rallied to beat the Jags’ Dan Wang 8-6, at No. 5 and Max Burns edged Henry Montario 8-6 at No. 3. Then Lorig sealed the deal before doubles with the skies threatening.

“Cole made a big difference,” McCann said. “We knew we had to be focused. These were some tough matches. Every one of these could have gone the other way.”