For 2 1/2 hours, sophomore Toby Boyer engaged in head-to-head battle in the finals of the state tennis tournament, his first run at a singles title since 2009, after placing as the runner-up in doubles last season.
This time, Boyer went up against junior Joel Richards of Minnetonka.
Prior to the match, head coach Greg Patchin predicted it would be a long duel between two very different styles of play: Boyer brought powerful shots while Richards placed the ball well.
During the roller coaster ride of overhead smashes and drop shots, Richards came out on top in the first set, winning the first three games. Boyer made a run, but it wouldn’t be enough to catch Richards, whom he first started competing against in the Little Mo tournament as a grade schooler.
After the 7-5 loss in the first set, Boyer came out with a vengeance in the second, taking a 3-0 lead himself and sealing the deal at 6-3.
In a nearly hour-long tiebreaker match, Boyer and Richards went back and forth while spectators from other courts drifted in to watch the matchup. With the set tied at five games apiece, Boyer stayed aggressive but misplaced enough shots to give Richards the edge and the 7-5 win for the state title.
Patchin said Boyer played well throughout the tournament.
“I was exceptionally proud of Toby’s play, and he has established himself as one of the best tennis players in the state. Maybe the best,” Patchin said. “A few shots here and there, and he would have won — awesome match, though.”
The hard-hitting ace started this year’s quest last Thursday with wins over Jason Dilly of Becker (6-1, 6-1) and Cason Hiers of St. Paul Central in the quarterfinals (6-2, 6-3). Boyer went on to shut down No. 3 Jesse Sprinkel of Minneapolis South (6-3, 6-1) on Friday morning.
Boyer closed the 2012-13 season with a record of 26-1.