MIDLAND – Predictability is consistent at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 Boys Tennis Finals, and this weekend was no different.
Reigning champion Bloomfield Hills came in as the top-ranked team, followed by Troy and Northville. And heading into Saturday’s semifinal brackets, the Black Hawks were on top with 27 points followed by Troy with 24 and Northville with 22.
With Bloomfield Hills contenders in each flight, it would be difficult for Troy or Northville to unseat the 2022 title winner, and neither was able to as the Black Hawks reigned again.
Brothers Pierce and Connor Shaya captured the No. 2 and 3 singles titles, respectively, as the Black Hawks racked up 36 points. Troy and Northville tied for second with 27 points each after top seed Sachiv Kumar of Northville defeated Rochester’s Clayton Anderson 6-2, 6-4 in the No. 1 singles final to claim his third championship at that flight.
Last year the Black Hawks won three doubles and two singles titles on their way to the championship. They were better this weekend winning six of eight flights and sweeping doubles.
Pierce Shaya, who was part of the No. 1 doubles champion last year, moved to No. 2 singles and entered the championship undefeated, said the target of being a defending champion was evident from the start of the season.
Pierce won his third Finals title with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Chad Anderson of Rochester.
“There was a lot of pressure,’’ he said. “I knew were going into it solid, but it’s what we do on the court. We wanted to run it back again. Last year was a great year, but we wanted to make this year even better. It was more of not being cocky, but being confident. Coach makes that big message if we stay confident out there and we don’t get cocky, we can take on any team. I’ve been trying to keep my brother and the underclassmen, even the upperclassmen, staying focused and not get cocky.
“I had played (Anderson) before in Regionals and knew what to expect.’’
Brother Connor Shaya, a sophomore and last year’s champion at No. 4 singles, was the top seed at No. 3 and reached the final against Josh Kim of Northville and dominated 6-4, 6-0.
“We just try to stay humble,’’ said Connor. “I know we haven’t lost yet, but obviously Troy and Northville are very good teams. Novi, we have to look out for them. We just try to know (who) we’re dealing with and not get arrogant or cocky.’’
Northville sophomore Amogh Mavatoor won at No. 4 singles 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 over top seed Haresh Anand of Troy.
Seniors Aaron Rose and Merrick Chernett made their top seed stand at No. 1 doubles, winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, in the final over Ann Arbor Huron senior Hassan Hejazi and junior Warren Gunnar.
Seniors Ryan Rose and Michael Dillon were seeded first at No. 2 doubles and won that flight last year. They faced Troy’s Josh Samuelson and Eric Kim in this season’s final and prevailed 6-0, 6-2.
“We lost one match all year to Novi, which we just played in the semifinals. Ryan and I have been together for three years,’’ said Dillion. “We know each other’s game. We’re confident in our abilities. We trust each other. I know my game; I know my partner’s game. That is what we can control.’’
Senior Kierth Lingam and Dominic Pascarella won No. 3 doubles with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Anthony Wu and Varun Shetty of Troy.
“This is great for the seniors,’’ said Lingam. “We have seven on the team, and six start.
“The COVID year was a loss and the next year we lost in the first round. We came back to beat the team the next year and win the title. We called ourselves the Fab Five. We root and cheer for each other. We went undefeated and everyone is rooting against you, but it’s all about staying with your team, trusting your strokes and believing in yourself.’’
The Black Hawks also claimed the No. 4 doubles title with Ethan Endelman and Asher Langwell besting Troy’s Jack Pawlowski and Jesse Hao, 7-6, 6-4.
PHOTOS (Top) Bloomfield HIlls' Jonah Chernett returns a volley during a No. 1 singles match Saturday at Midland Tennis Center. (Middle) Brothers Connor and Pierce Shaya celebrate their singles championships. (Top photo by High School Sports Scene.)
Join Elizabeth Coon as State Champs! takes a look at all of the action from the 2023 Lower Peninsula Boys Tennis Finals.