Seniority proved to be the key Thursday in a match between two undefeated teams and perennial state powers.
The Wellesley boys tennis team (7-0, 4-0), playing four seniors and three juniors, handily defeated a much younger St. John's Prep 4-1 at its Danvers campus.
"I thought all of our guys played really well today," Wellesley Head Coach Mike Sabin said. "St. John's Prep always provides us with a good out-of-league test."
St. John's Prep (7-1, 6-1) played two juniors and five underclassmen on Thursday.
The two teams, usually near the top of the state standings, face-off each year despite being in different leagues. The match always provides a good measuring stick, according to St. John's Prep Head Coach Mark Metropolis. "I love playing Wellesley," he said. "They're the best team in the state as far as I'm concerned, so after you play them, you know exactly where you stand."
Wellesley, of the Bay State Conference, has lost in the state semi-finals the last two years to eventual champ Concord Carlisle. St. John's Prep has won 20 of the last 21 Catholic Conference titles.
On Thursday, the match was over relatively early with Wellesley earning convincing wins at first and second singles and first doubles.
Juniors Iyla Levin and Chris Cua overpowered their opponents from the start at first and second singles, respectively. Levin beat Eagles junior John Corvi 6-1, 6-3, while Cua took down freshman Chris Toner 6-0, 6-2.
At first doubles, Raiders senior captain Gordon Peters and junior Alex Robertson, who could go undefeated this year, according to their coach, defeated Mike Beluch and Mark Corvi 6-1, 6-2.
The Raiders second doubles squad of David Mykrantz and Jeff Baldwin narrowly defeated Will Hochbrunn and Ian Wright 7-5 in the first set but then turned it on in the second set, winning 6-3.
"It was tough with the wind," said Mykrantz, a senior captain. "It was moving the ball all over the place, but once we adjusted, we started to settle in."
His partner agreed.
"We made some mistakes early," Baldwin said, "but then we pulled it together and started exploiting some of their tendencies."
With a third of the season complete, Sabin said his team is in a good spot.
"We're definitely progressing," he said. "I see us getting better everyday."
In third singles, Raiders senior Neil Bhatt lost in a third-set tiebreaker to Eagles freshman Brad Noyes.