MAU boys tennis loses for first time, falls to Rutland

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BENNINGTON — The Mount Anthony boys tennis team was knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten Wednesday, falling 5-2 to rival Rutland at Bennington Recreation Center.

This matchup pitted two of the top teams in the state record-wise against each other.

MAU's No. 1 singles player Michael Niemi came into the day unbeaten, but he found his match in Rutland's Andres Aguilar.

Aguilar took control early in the first set and cruised to a 6-1 win there. Niemi adjusted well in the second set after going down multiple games, but he fought back to get the score to 5-4, before Aguilar finished off the Patriots' top player in straight sets.

Nick Pappas continued a dominant early season run with a straight sets win at No. 2 singles. Pappas has yet to lose a set this season.

"[Not losing a set] is his goal to maintain that," said MAU coach Trevor Grimshaw. "If you can maintain your own game, you're doing a lot for the team. He's really held his own and made a lot of improvement over the past two seasons. I worked with him a bunch even before he was in high school, so it's cool to see his improvement."

At No. 3, Brandon Anderson fell in straight sets to Augie Louras in a competitive matchup. At multiple points in the second set, Anderson was within a game of Louras, but couldn't overcome him.

No. 4 Gabe Niles and No. 5 Matt Gorey were both even matches, but they fell in straight sets to their Raider opponents.

MAU's second win of the day was the last contest to finish up, which was the No. 1 doubles match.

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MAU's Jack Rogge and Sam Chaney took on Rutland's Dylan Roussell and Ollie Hamilton in a match that went back and forth throughout.

The Raiders grabbed the first set 6-3, but Rogge and Chaney battled back well in the second. After going down in the set, MAU brought the score to 6-6 to force a tiebreak, which the Patriots won.

With each team grabbing a set, a 10-point tiebreaker came into play, where MAU won 10-4.

"They finished strong. [Jack] Rogge and [Sam] Chaney have played a lot of other sports together," Grimshaw said. "The chemistry is there between them and seeing them be aggressive is cool to see. Hopefully, they can keep it up and transfer that to our other doubles."

The No. 2 doubles team of Adam Sampsell and Josh Paine fell in straight sets as well.

Losing is tough, but Grimshaw was more focused on the effort his team showed, which was strong throughout.

"We had really good matches and everything was close, so you can't really ask for more," Grimshaw said. Winning isn't everything. We have a lot more to go and we have a lot more promising matches ahead of us too."

MAU drops to 6-1 with the loss and plays Brattleboro today.

Adam Aucoin can be reached aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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