Millburn High School's boys varsity tennis team won its fifth straight group title Wednesday in the NJSIAA Groups competition, held at Mercer County Park in West Windsor — crowning the team Group IV champions.
The Millburn team will defend its Tournament of Champions title next week as it competes with five other group champions as first seed.
In the groups competition, the Millers drew a tough semifinal competitor in Livingston High School. Though Millburn had defeated Livingston in their previous meetings this season, a win was by no means assured. And indeed, the Millers' victory over the Lancers was about as thin as it gets: 3-2, with the clinching match a 7-6(7), 7-5 nailbiter on the second singles court, when Miller Dean Koman sent opponent Erik Katcher home.
Koman's match broke a 2-2 tie. Millburn's first point was won at second doubles by Andrew Nolff and Evan Imegwu, who dispatched Dennis Li and Jesse Korovin 6-4, 6-3.
The next point went to Livingston, when Sam Farber and Justin Patel defeated Teddy Moskovitz and Keith Knopp 6-2, 6-3.
Millburn went up 2-1 with first singles Tyler Schick's comeback victory over Anthony Caputo. Schick got off to a slow start and dropped the first set 6-2, but regrouped to outplay Caputo the next two sets 6-1, 6-1.
On the third singles court, Miller Jason Ginsburg had also lost his first set to Spencer Luster, but reset and won the second set 6-2. Luster regained the upper hand to take the third set 6-4 and earn Livingston's tying second point.
With both teams and spectators lining the fences to cheer the second singles players, Koman and Katcher played out their tense finish. With Koman's win, Millburn was into the final.
After a 90-minute break, the Millers retook the courts to face Montgomery High School for the Group IV title. Montgomery had beaten Shawnee in the semifinals.
The Millers sailed through the final, taking four of five matches in straight sets. Schick delivered the first team point, beating Chris D'Agostino 6-3, 6-0.
Next off the court were Nolff and Imegwu, with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Eric Epp and Howard Bi.
Koman's 6-1, 6-1 victory over Kevin Xu clinched the match for Millburn, while Moskovitz and Knopp added another team point, outplaying Clark Chapman and Alessandro Sclapari 6-3, 6-3.
Montgomery's only team point came on the third singles court, when Ben Eckard defeated Jonathan Duan 6-4, 7-5.
Millburn's season record now stands at 27-1.
Going into the TOC as first seed, the Millers have a bye in the first round. On Wednesday they are slated to play the winner of Christian Brothers Academy versus Moorestown. Second seed Newark Academy is scheduled to play the winner of Holmdel versus New Providence, also on Wednesday.