The streak is over.
Belleville West players Sam Calhoun and Jack Langen scored crucial wins in singles and the Maroons won two of three matches in doubles to clinch a 5-4 win over arch rival Belleville East on Wednesday in a Southwestern Conference boys tennis match.
Looking to break a five-match losing streak against its city rivals, West appeared to be in trouble when it fell behind 3-1 the powerful Lancers with two singles matches still on court.
But when Calhoun defeated Cameron Cagas 6-1, 7-5 at No. 5 singles and Langen won a marathon 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 decision against Carter Baldus in the No. 6 match, the Maroons were tied at 3 heading into doubles.
“Sam and Jack winning was huge for us because it meant we just needed to win two of three matches in doubles. If we lose both of them, and if we split it would have meant we were down 4-2 and needing to sweep in doubles to win the match. Those two wins tied the match and brought us even after singles,” West coach Andy Brunner said. “This is a big win for these kids and our program.
“We had the streak of maybe eight years in a row where we didn’t lose to them and then I think it had been five years since we had beaten East going into the match today (Wednesday). It’s always a big win when you beat East because (coach) Dan Skaer does such a great job of preparing his kids to play. I’m pleased. Everyone had a part in us winning today.”
The Maroons can lock up the Belleville city title on April 26 with a win at Althoff. Belleville East defeated the young Crusaders 7-2 last week.
Belleville East got singles wins from Max Skaer, who defeated Drew Boyles 6-1, 6-4 in a battle of elite No 1 players. Christian Cowulich and Austin Klug also won in singles for the Lancers while Derek Henke won at No. 4 singles for the Maroons.
The match of the day was in No. 1 doubles where Boyles and Henke defeated Skaer and Cowulich 6-2 6-7, 12-10 in a battle of squads that are among the top 16 teams in the state.
“It was a great match between two very good doubles combinations,” Brunner said. “We played very well in the first set before Skaer and Cowulich started hitting winners from the baseline and beat us in a second set tiebreaker.
“We played a super tiebreaker to decide the match in the third set and there was some high level play going on there.”
When Ian Burger and Nick Harry improved to 8-1 for the season by beating their East opponents in the No. 2 doubles match, West had the win.
Josh Thomas and Dylan Friedman won the No. 3 doubles match for Belleville East.