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Another chance at a championship for Boys Tennis

When the postseason comes for Tennis all the attention generally turns to the individual, but that’s changing this season in Section VI Boys Tennis.

This week Section VI Boys Tennis is having an official team tournament – with champions getting the chance to play for a state title.

“There have been a lot of coaches who have wanted there to be a team playoff in tennis. We have not had that in a long time,” Section VI Boys Tennis Assistant Chair and Clarence coach Alex Chambers said. “Rather than celebrating one particular excellent singles player or doubles team – the whole team can get a chance to represent their school.

Similar to the Dual Meet Championships for wrestling – teams will be pitted against one another in a bracketed tournament.

Five teams are competing in the Large School tournament and 16 in the Small School one. The winning teams will advance to face the Section V champions in the regional round. A victory there would earn them a spot in the inaugural NYSPHSAA Final Four at Flushing Meadows on June 10th.

The large school tournament is using a 4-3 format – best of seven – meaning each contest will consist of four singles and three doubles matches. The Small School tournament is using the traditional 3-2 format – best of five (three singles, two doubles).

Last year, Section VI ran a similar tournament due to the fact the season was shortened and there were no states.

The Section VI and NYSPHSAA Individual Championships will remain intact and scheduling will allow players to participate in both the Individual and Team Championships if they qualify.

Williamsville East is the No. 2 seed in the Large School tournament and with two doubles teams and a singles player earning spots in the Individual sectional tournament, is considered one of the favorites going in.

“On paper I feel pretty good,” Williamsville East coach David Monkarsh said. “We have a very strong and deep team but Orchard Park, Amherst and Williamsville North all have really good teams. If we show up I like our chances in every match.”

Flames captain Arjun Pindiprolu, who reached the finals of the ECIC Doubles Championship last week, likes the opportunity to compete for a championship with his teammates.

“I thought it was really cool because tennis is an individual sport and this is the first time we’re going to have a team type of event,” Pindiprolu said. “We really have a strong team and we are all really close.”

The additional tournament means players have the chance to win two state championships this year.  When posed with the hypothetical scenario Pindiprolu exclaimed winning with his teammates would mean a little more.

“I think winning as a team would be the coolest because you’re doing it with more people,” Pindiprolu said. “I also think it’s a lot harder to have to win four out of seven matches (as a team) than just yourself winning one.”

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