LONGMEADOW — No. 1 Longmeadow is on top of Western Massachusetts, again.
The Lancers defeated No. 2 East Longmeadow in the Western Mass. Class A boys tennis championship, 5-0, on Friday.
The sectional title is the Lancers’ 24th in a row.
“The Western Mass. tournament is a big deal for a lot of area schools,” Lancers coach Pat Magowan said. “We are like our own little bubble. It means a lot to guys. With the new state system it’s different, but it is still nice to recognize and honor the local teams that compete against each other.”
Longmeadow’s Kevin Liang defeated Lukas DeBlok in first singles, 6-1, 6-2.
Jiang is a junior this year and it is his first season as the team’s top singles player, taking over for former star, and current Fairfield University tennis player, Kosta Kollias.
Kollias played an active role in coaching and mentoring Liang last year during the season to get him ready for this spring.
“I owe (Kosta) for mentoring (Kevin) and showing him how to be a team leader,” Magowan said. “Kevin has done a great job. He has another season to grow, so I’m excited to see what he brings next year as well.”
Friday’s match was the first time Liang has ever gone against DeBlok. Although he wasn’t familiar with his opponent heading into the match, Liang leaned on the part of his game that has helped him the most this season.
“My forehand was punishing,” Liang said. “Sometimes he got me with his slice, but my forehand really dominated the match.”
The Lancers made quick work of their second and third singles matches.
Tommy McMahon defeated Jack Langan 6-1, 6-1 in the second matchup, while Enzo Cerra defeated Francesco Mancuso 6-1, 6-1.
Cerra is from Spain and is an exchange student at Longmeadow for his senior year.
With a sectional title under his belt, and states on the horizon, he couldn’t ask for much more from his experience playing American high school sports.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Cerra said. “It’s really exciting to be a part of this team. Helping them win Western Mass. is really cool.”
The Lancers are a veteran-led team this spring with four senior starters.
Although Cerra is new to the program this spring, Magowan is proud of how quickly the senior has adjusted and become an important part of the team.
“He did a great job,” Magowan said. “He came in and stepped in like he’d been here for four years.”
The Lancers also took care of business in doubles. In first doubles, Zhenghao Li and Nico Warren defeated Samuel Sares and Jack Serafini 6-2, 6-2, while Ben Norman and Hillel Kofsky defeated Francisco De La Flor and Andrew Lonczak in second doubles 6-0, 6-1.
Last season, Longmeadow fell to Concord-Carlisle in the Division II state tournament Round of 16. Heading into this state postseason, the program feels good about where it is and where it’s going.
“We are optimistic,” Magowan said. “It will be great and fun. We will play high level competition. We know that, so we are going to fight tooth and nail for every point.”