East Brunswick, No. 2 in the NJ.com Top 20, defeated No. 4 Bergen Tech, 5-0, in the championship game of the 28th annual Bryan Bennett Memorial Tournament on Sunday afternoon at the cloudy and windy Delbarton in Morristown.
This is the first time East Brunswick have both reached the final round of the tournament and won it. This marked Bergen Tech’s first trip to the tournament. The Knights were due to play in 2020 before the pandemic canceled the season. East Brunswick reached the semifinals last season.
The Bears-Knights match featured a rematch of last spring’s Group 4 final, which East Brunswick won by the smallest margin.
On Sunday, Jack Wong defeated Sandeep Alapati in the first singles match, 6-3, 6-3. On the second single, Siddharth Srinivasan came back to beat Fela Fieulleteau, 3-6, 6-1, (10-4). Tanuj Chandekar also won, 7-5, 6-2, by third single over Udbhav Devarakonda.
In the first double, Carson He and Andrew Cui defeated David Chung and Matthew Song, 6-1, 6-0, and the second double pair of Jayden He and Ryan Val also won, 6-2, 7-5, against Shuban Devarakonda and Shan Krishnan .
“It’s so great. Last year we had a tough draw with Newark Academy. They were not here this time. Everyone played so well this weekend,” said Candekar. “We fought hard and had a good competition. I’m super happy. I had a hard fight. My opponent was a really good fighter. I’m over the moon, to be honest. “
Rain Friday night and Saturday morning changed the schedule of the tournament. It only started after noon in both Delbarton and Villa Walsh nearby. A quarter-final match between Westfield and Montgomery only played early Sunday morning. The cold and wind also held over the weekend.
“We were able to adapt quite well. It was blowing quite a lot out here, but it was a great tournament,” said Chandekar. “Yesterday we were at Villa Walsh. It was also heavy with the rain, but we kept our focus. “I want to thank Delbarton, the coaches and everyone here. They organized everything and handled all the rain and cold. Everything was great.”
Bergen Tech finished No. 3 Pingry, who was not at full strength, in the semifinals early Sunday morning. East Brunswick did not play its semi-final against Westfield until around 1 p.m. 11:00, which gave it less time to recover before the final, which started shortly after 6 p.m. 14:30 or so. Nevertheless, Wong said it ended up being a good thing.
“I feel it was actually better for us because we were more warmed up. It was a good warm up for us. The hour was good. We were mentally ready. We ate a little and got some more energy. It’s basically that.
“The rain was just a delay yesterday. It was not that bad. I feel our team kept our focus up and stayed strong together. During the delays we were together and had fun so it was not so boring and it bothered not us. ”
Both Bergen Tech and East Brunswick were missing a player or two for the final. In East Brunswick’s case, it was just as much when it was the next man up. They all delivered.
“It’s a big confidence booster,” Wong said. “We’re trying to make an impact. This proves how deep our lineup is. Beating these good teams helps our confidence.”
Wong, a four-star recruit according to the Tennis Recruiting Network, who has a UTR score of 11.01, was the first off the court. Wong and Alapati, a three-star prospect even with a UTR of 9.65, fought point after point.
“This tournament I personally did not play my best, but I tried my best to stay focused and not make unforced errors and keep it consistent. I wanted to play my game and play confidently. I was capable of that, “Wong said.
Chandekar was behind most of the first set, but found a groove late in the opening set and was able to use that momentum in the second.
The last point of the day came thanks to a little bit of lucky and good reflexes, and he stuck it out just racket as he and Devarakonda hit volley into the net.
“It was tough. I had a couple of match points,” Chandekar said. “I had some trouble keeping my serve, so I knew my best chance was to crack him to win it. “just take a risk and try to get in against the net. Somehow my reflexes were good enough to seal the victory and get it done.”
Chandekar is in a new role this season at third singles after playing first single last year.
“Yeah, it’s been a little different,” he said. “Obviously the competition is generally a little easier, but I have just as much fun. I’m happy to be with such a great team. ”
A year ago, the East Brunswick Red Division won the Greater Middlesex Conference, Central Jersey, the Group 4 title, the overall Group 4 championship and advanced to the T of C finals.
They did so without Wong and Srinivasan, who have not played for the Bears since their first-year season three years ago. The seniors returned to strengthen the ranks even more and bring home all the hardware and trophies, including Bryan Bennett.
“Junior year I had plans to play a lot of tournaments and travel, and so if we came back to play high school tennis, we would have had to sit for two weeks. There was no reason to keep doing it over one over. However, the team did well, “said Wong.
“I think it’s a good first step. Last year we did not finally reach what we were hoping for. I think we have a good chance of winning it all this year with our deep lineup. This tournament is a big one. first step in achieving our goals. “
Chandekar and the rest of his teammates know they have to take things once, and even one point at a time. But they know the type of team they have – a dangerous one.
“Last year we went pretty far. We almost won the Tournament of Champions, ”said Candekar. “This year, with Jack and Sidd back, our double pair looks good and I think we can go all the way this time. I’m excited for this season. ”
Formerly known as the Delbarton Invitational Tournament, the Bryan Bennett Memorial Tournament changed its name and is played in honor of the 1994 Delbarton candidate, Bryan Bennett, who was tragically killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Bridgewater-Raritan coach Curt Weaver was the recipient of the Bryan Bennett Commitment and Dedication to High School Award, while Episcopal (Pa.) Received the Bryan Bennett Sportsmanship Award.
Bryan Bennett Memorial Tournament 2022
• Tournament Bracket
Results from the first round
0-Bridgewater-Raritan 3, 0-Summit 2 – Box Score
0-Montgomery 3.5, 0-Livingston 1.5 – Box Score
0-Delbarton 5, 0-Montclair 0 – Box Score
0-Episcopal (PA) 3, 0-Holmdel 2 – Box Score
0-East Brunswick 5, 0-Bridgewater-Raritan 0 – Box Score
0-Westfield 4, 0-Montgomery 1 – Box Score
0-Bergen Tech 4, 0-Delbarton 1 – Box Score
0-Pingry 5, 0-Episcopal (PA) 0 – Box Score
Results of the semi-final round
0-East Brunswick 4, 0-Westfield 1 – Box Score
0-Bergen Tech 3, 0-Pingry 2 – Box Score
Results of last round
0-East Brunswick 5, 0-Bergen Tech 0 – Box Score
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