You knew it had to come down to this.
Bedford vs. Wayland. The classic Dual County League rivalry, born around the time Nixon defeated Humphrey, and nurtured across all sports for more than five decades.
Now it’s back in the spotlight—Saturday at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s duPont Courts, as the two ancient foes meet for the MIAA state Division 3 boys’ tennis championship.
As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, the MIAA had not posted a start time for the finals.
Bedford, ranked third in the tournament, defeated second-seeded Dover-Sherborn 3-2 Wednesday afternoon to advance. Wayland secured its spot on Tuesday with a 4-1 win over Martha’s Vineyard Regional.
The Buccaneers and the Warriors faced each other twice in the regular season and—naturally—split the two matches, both by 3-2 scores.
Wednesday’s semifinals took place on the tennis complex outside North Reading High School—a square of two rows of three courts each. Things were quiet for the first hour; as the deciding matches emerged, the sidelines became much louder.
Early on, things were looking good for Bedford. Although Ittay Weisman absorbed the loss in second singles, straight sets, the Goss brothers—senior Owen and freshman Spencer—each was victorious in straight sets, first and third singles, respectively. Both doubles teams also won their opening sets.
Spencer Goss dispatched his opponent 6-2, 6-2, to close out his match, and a little later seniors Drew Watson and Jake Klingenberg outlasted Dover-Sherborn 7-5 to close out second doubles. Klingenberg, back after missing some time with an injury, was reunited with Watson, his doubles partner of last season.
As the first doubles team of Adam Capobianco and Dillon Denny-Brown battled into a third set, all eyes were on the first-singles battle between Owen Goss and Robert Ozerdem. Goss was unflappable, coming from behind to win both sets, 6-3, 7-5.
The last point in the close second set elicited shouts of joy from the sideline, as the Buccaneers and their fans instantly realized that this was the clincher, the team’s ticket to the state finals with the three match wins. Although Dover-Sherborn ultimately prevailed in first doubles, it was academic
Bedford Coach John Geilfuss, wearing his lucky Division 3 state championship cap from 2002, has been to the finals twice in his long career. But before this year, the eastern Massachusetts semifinals were almost always the decisive contest, with the finals against central or western teams anticlimactic.
But in 2022, the first spring of power-ranked pairings, the two best teams will meet once again, this time for the state Division 3 title.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com, or 781-983-1763