During the annual Martha’s Vineyard Community Tennis Fall Classic tournament in September, an all-ages competition, a curious thing happened on the way to the championships. Five young girls — all 12 or 13 years old — emerged as victors.
When Ned Fennessy began coaching the Vineyard boys’ tennis team in 1991, he often found himself working with athletes who were at a disadvantage. Some lacked racquets, others lacked proper shoes and nearly all lacked a tennis background.
“I was having to teach basic fundamentals — this is how you hold the racquet, this is how you follow through,” he said on Saturday, sitting on the team bus as the Vineyarders returned home from picking up their second straight state title.
When people say that history repeats itself, they aren’t usually referring to high school tennis.
But in a match that lasted just under an hour and a half last Saturday afternoon, the Vineyard boys successfully defended their Massachusetts division three state championship title with a 4-1 win against Bromfield.
Play was under way early Saturday afternoon on the courts at Clark University in Worcester with the storied Vineyard boys tennis team, in the state championship finals for the second straight year. The team plays Bromfield for the state division three title. The Gazette will be posting live accounts of the match on twitter.
Marking history in the high school tennis program, the Vineyard boys will go to the division three state finals for the second straight year following a decisive win over Weston in the semifinals Wednesday.
The team plays Saturday against Bromfield, seeded number one and winner of the central section. The game begins at 1 p.m. at Clark University in Worcester, a changed location from what was originally planned.
The Vineyard was seeded number two and won the section title Saturday.
It was only fitting that the televisions were showing the latest French Open matches on Saturday afternoon as Vineyard tennis players past and present gathered to celebrate a coach who has become an Island tennis institution.
After 23 years, several one-loss seasons, one undefeated run and one state championship title, head coach Ned Fennessy, 80, is retiring.
The boys’ varsity tennis team suffered its first defeat of the season against a tough Barnstable squad Monday afternoon. The Vineyarders had not lost a match since June of 2011. Senior co-captain Justice Yennie's 54-match winning streak also came to an end.