The Middle Township High School boys tennis team lost to host Haddon Township 4-1 Tuesday in the South Jersey Group I championship match.
Middle was the two-time defending champion, having won the S.J. Group I title in 2018 and 2019. There was no season in 2020. The Panthers also won the title in 2016.
Haddon Township, the top seed, improved to 17-2, second-seeded Middle Township fell to 16-3.
“I’m disappointed but not with our effort,” Middle coach Matt Gilbert said. “Hopefully, this will instill a little fire in us to come back next year. It was hard to access how we were going to do against them, but Haddon Township was a good team. They’re one of the best in the Colonial Conference.”
Max Gilbert, Middle’s first singles and Matt’s son, slipped and injured his calf early in the third set and lost by injury default to Ryan Erhardt. Gilbert won the first set 6-1 and lost the second set 6-3.
Middle’s victory came from John Leahy and Steve Berrodin, who beat Aidan Donohue and Michael Cosenza 6-0, 6-2. Coach Glibert said his first doubles team “played incredible.”
Haddon Township’s Derek Chen beat Xander Hardin 6-2, 6-0 in the second singles match. Brendan Mulligan, the Hawks’ third singles player, defeated Shane Kern 6-2, 6-3. Nick Walton and Dermot Sheehan beat Panthers Simon Hardin and Justin Wen 6-1, 6-1 in second doubles.
The Hawks will play a state semifinal match on Thursday at Mercer County Park. The finals also will be held there Thursday.
Middle will finish its season with a match at Absegami at 4 p.m. Thursday and a home match with Mainland Regional at 4 p.m. Friday.
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