Three years ago, it seemed like a dream to Hammonton High School boys tennis coach Casey McCullough when her team qualified to play powerful Moorestown in a South Jersey Group III championship match.
McCullough had the same feeling Sunday when Hammonton beat host Moorestown 3-2 at the Moorestown Classic, the Blue Devils' first-ever victory over the perennial tennis power, McCullough said.
The victory was a consolation match for third place, but it seemed bigger than that to the Blue Devils because Moorestown has beaten them three years in a row in the S.J. Group III tournament, including 4-1 wins in the final in 2011 and 2013. Those losses were Hammonton's best performances against the Quakers until Sunday.
Hammonton's Michael Seligman won 6-2, 6-4 at second singles, and the Blue Devils' doubles teams of Stevie Salvatore and Marcus Mitchell, and Evan Barnett and Jordan Mitchell were both winners. The first doubles team of Satvatore and Marcus Mitchell was the last on the court and clinched the match by taking the third set 6-3.
At third singles, Hammonton's Jonathan McCarthy lost in three sets, two of which went to tiebreakers.
"To beat them is a huge thing," McCullough said. "My doubles kids played brilliant tennis, and so did Michael. We came close to getting another point. Jon was working hard and played really well.
"Beating Kingsway three years ago in a South Jersey semifinal and getting to play Moorestown in the final was surreal. Now here we are three years later."
Hammonton senior Pete Lancetta lost to Moorestown's Tyler Blessing 6-3, 6-0 at first singles. Lancetta and McCarthy, also a senior, were in the 2011 lineup as freshmen against Moorestown.
Hammonton beat Moorestown Friends School 4-1 in its opening round match Saturday but then lost to Shawnee 4-1.
Vineland lost a first-round match and won a consolation match Saturday at the two-day event. Montgomery High School beat the Fighting Clan 5-0 in the opening round, but Vineland edged Pitman 3-2 in the consolation.
Contact Guy Gargan:
Hammonton 3, Moorestown 2
Singles-Tyler Blessing M d Pete Lancetta 6-3, 6-0; Michael Seligman H d Marc Mounzer 6-2, 6-4; David Blatcher M d Jonathan McCarthy 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).
Doubles-Stevie Salvatore-Marcus Mitchell H d Alex Epstin-Jon Lewis 7-5, 5-7, 6-3; Evan Barnett-Jordan Mitchell H d John Mathews-Wes Bobadillo 6-2, 6-4.
Montgomery 5, Vineland 0
Singles-Chris Dagostino d Dhruv Patel 6-4, 6-3; Ben Eckardt d Andrew Massaro 5-7 6-3 (10-6); Nikil Pancha d Nhyko Todd 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles-Zach Anderson-Howard Bi d Frank Conroy-Nick Mayo 6-3, 6-0; Liam Lynch-Eric Wang d Mike McGill-Dave Berezin 6-2, 6-1.
Records-Montgomery 5-0, Vineland 1-3.
Vineland 3, Pitman 2
Singles-Zac Catagna P d Dhruv Patel 6-1, 6-3; Andrew Massaro V d Alex Snow 6-1, 6-2; Nhyko Todd V d Matt Migeot 6-1, 6-0.
Doubles-Frank Conroy-Nick Mayo V d Andrew Sawyer-Nick Knierim 7-6 (7-5), 6-1; Sam Langlois-Kevin Weller P d Mike McGill-Dave Berezin 7-5, 6-4.
Records-Pitman 3-2, Vineland 2-3.