Hingham Boys Tennis Upsets Undefeated Sharon in Elite Eight, Advances to Final Four

June 8, 2024 – Story and photos by William Wassersug

At the beginning of the tennis season, Hingham boys tennis coach Eric Gill said his hope for the season was to advance past the Division 2 Round of Eight, where the team has ended the past few seasons.

Friday afternoon, the No. 10 ranked Harbormen (18-3) accomplished that goal with a 3-2 upset win over previously undefeated Sharon, who entered the match with the No. 2 seed and a 21-0 record including playoffs.

Hingham No. 1 singles Parker Schultz beat Sharon’s Matthew Lally 6-1, 6-2 Friday afternoon to help the Harbormen win their way into the MIAA Division 2 Final 4.

The win sets up a Final Four showdown with No. 3 Duxbury (19-1) Monday June 10 at 4 p.m. at Hanover High School.

Parker Schultz got things started with a somewhat quick 6-1, 6-2 win over Sharon’s Matthew Lally, followed by a 6-2, 6-0 win by Travis Rugg and Eric Li at first doubles over Sava Kasser and Isaac Chen, setting up the rest of the tense showdown that left Hingham leading 2-1 after Teddy Reilly fell to Milan Kivojev 3-6, 1-6.

That left Ethan Warhaftig at second singles and Liam Arnold and Evan Lynch still on the courts needing a win to clinch.

Ethan Warhaftig hits a return at second singles Friday afternoon at Sharon. Warhaftig went into a third set before retiring once Hingham had secured the match.

It didn’t come easy, but Arnold and Lynch hung on for a 6-2, 6-7, 6-1 win over Alax Budovalcev and Joel Zwicker to secure the victory.

Meanwhile, Warhaftig finished with a 7-5, 6-7 (5) 1-2 score when he retired.

The match started more than an hour late as a major downpour hit Sharon right before the 3 p.m. start, leaving the courts soaked.

Fortunately, coaches, including Gill, parents and players all worked together with leaf blowers, rollers and more to dry the courts with a bit of extra help when the sun came back out.

 Eric Li chases down a serve in his first doubles match with partner Travis Rugg.  They won their match 6-2, 6-0.

“The tiebreaker was definitely tough because we were up 6-1, but going into the third set I knew we had more endurance than the other team, so we knew that we could outplay them,” Arnold said after the match. “We just knew we had to be consistent until we could beat them with strength and endurance.”

Arnold and Lynch did just that as one of Sharon’s players cramped up late in the third set with Hingham leading 5-1 at the time.

Arnold said he and Lynch didn’t want to leave anything for chance.

Liam Arnold celebrates a big point at Sharon Friday.

“We knew we had to play our game,” he said. “If we won we won. We just had to focus on our own match and it paid off at the end.”

Arnold was happy to get the win.

“This feels great because this is the first time in at least four years that we’ve made it past the Elite Eight, at least as long as I’ve been on the team,” he said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Gill was pleased with the win.

Travis Rugg gets to the ball in first doubles action at Sharon Friday. Rugg and Eric Li won their match 6-2, 6-0 to help Hingham into the Final Four.

“Winning today was the next step,” Gill said. “The last few years we we’ve been stuck in the Round of Eight. The Final Four has eluded us. This was the next step and it was against a really good team. The guys played well. I couldn’t be happier for them.”

Gill was impressed with Schultz’s effort.

“Parker was spectacular,” he said. “The match was quick. He was quick. When he wants to turn it on he’s unstoppable. First doubles, they just dominated that court.”

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