Carrying on from the first two weeks of play-offs, the final was also nip-and-tuck the whole way. No clear winner could be declared until the final two matches of the season. “Butter Nutz” and “Vivio’s” were the last teams standing, 21 weeks since the season began back in October.
The all important bonus point played a vital role in keeping “Vivio’s” alive. They picked up 11 of them, including two from team members that had their matches rearranged – (that’s great support) where “Butter Nutz” collected only 9. For a final, that’s relatively low. Would it cost them?
It all started well for the “Butter Nutz”. Two matches were completed before the scheduled Wednesday, and they won them both. Kevin Prather handled Matthew Nichols 3-0 and Drew Creamer out-experienced Brian Schrage for a 2-1 win.
Andrew's beer was too powerful for Tom's salad!
The first match on Wednesday was between Andrew Tignanelli (“Butter Nutz”) and Tom Delaney (“Vivio’s”). The two were having a back-and-forth battle, until a waitress bought over a plate of fruit salad which abruptly stopped play for Tom’s attack of the munchies. A few quick bites and back on court he went. Also re-fueling between games, Tom almost pulled out the victory, but alas he was a couple slices of melon too short. He lost 2-1.
Getting “Vivio’s” back on track was Brian Bartes as he tackled Brittany Paquette. Brian has been working hard on his game over the past few months taking many lessons and recently his results have reflected that. Brittany had a difficult task ahead of her although she did take a game from him earlier in the month, so she was capable of pulling out a win. Brian, however, made Brittany cover a lot of court and had her breathing hard late in the games, which as we all know is not a favorable position to be in. Brian took all 3 games.
Nullifying Brian’s win and coming up trumps for “Butter Nutz” was Chuck Doyle as he chopped down the furious effort from Joe Schaden who almost injured himself in the third game as he chased one of Chuck’s balls into the front corner. It was a handy 3-0 win and kept the “Butter Nutz” a couple of points clear.
The strangest match of the evening was between Josh Slominski (“Butter Nutz”) and Shail Arora (“Vivio’s”). It was odd in the fact that it was an on-again-off-again-on-again contest that originally wasn’t going to happen at all, then started with one game, was interrupted for a doubles match that Shail had to play for the Club Champs, and then completed for the last 2 games afterwards. Josh took the first before the break. Maybe the wait caused Josh to lose all momentum and rhythm since Shail took games 2 and 3 even though he had stepped straight off the doubles court.
Captains Rich and Sante
“Butter Nutz” captain Sante Fratarcangeli and Jay Poplawski certainly had the most intense contest of the evening. Both players were not willing to give even a smidge of an inch, and actually the squash was rather good. Hard rallies, tough running, a few controversial let calls, tight result, the crowd pretty much received the gambit of entertainment with this one. Sante pulled it out in the end with a 2-1 victory.
“Vivio’s” captain Rich Stimson also led by example as he took on Mike Petix. I watched a good portion of this match and even though I did expect a few rallies in the front corners, I didn’t think there would be so many. At every opportunity, drops were being played (and at times when the opening wasn’t there!) and because of that, quite a number of unforced errors materialized. Both played a similar tactic and Rich proved to be the steadier of the two on the day and snatched a 2-1 win.
Bumble bees Andy Adamo
and Brien Baker
Maybe the biggest surprise result of the evening came from Andy Adamo (“Butter Nutz”). I have always thought he is capable of beating anyone – in this case Brien Baker. Brien has been playing well of late so I did think he was favored to win, but when Andy steps up – as he did here – predictions go flying out the window. Andy placed the ball delicately and smartly into the corners and made Brien cover the floor extensively. Even with Brien’s reach and propensity to hit uncharacteristic angles, Andy was up to the task. When he moves freely, he’s tough. And he was too tough for Brien. Andy took it 2-1.
We had to wait for Thursday for the next two 2 matches to be played. By this stage, “Butter Nutz” had a 3 point lead. They needed to win outright – a tie was no good to them as they had lost the bonus point battle. In this case it was advantage “Butter Nutz” as well. Both Xander Wagner and Mike Reno had beaten their opponents last time they met. Could they do it again? Xander could – he charged to a 3-0 win over Bill Rivard but Peter Ulbrich cancelled that result out. Taking revenge on Mike’s 2-1 victory over him earlier in the season, Peter’s timing was spot on as he scored his 3-0 win of the season – leaving “Butter Nutz” once again with a 3 point lead and one match to play.
That match was put on hold. Unfortunate circumstances forced everyone to keep waiting – over a week – which is why this article wasn’t posted earlier! The scenario was that “Vivio’s” player Matt Turnbull had to beat Chris Moyer 3-0 in order for his team to win. A tough ask- Chris has improved significantly over the past few months and in fact had not lost a match all season. But he still had to perform when it counted. He did. Chris took the match 2-1 and secured the Boasters League title for the “Butter Nutz”! So another season comes to an end. But only for a short while.
Summer League is just a few weeks away – make sure you sign up and keep your squash game in tact for the warmer months.