Boyer falls in tight title game

Beaty snags singles championship

Kat Ladwig
Sports Editor

Toby Boyer winds up for a backhand shot against Zach Ekstein of Eagan in the Class AA singles quarterfinals. (Photo by Kat Ladwig)
Toby Boyer winds up for a backhand shot against Zach Ekstein of Eagan in the Class AA singles quarterfinals. (Photo by Kat Ladwig)

Junior Toby Boyer put together a solid run as he pursued the 2014 Class AA singles state title, but the Ranger star fell just short in the finals for the second year in a row.

Boyer, who compiled a 27-1 record this season, kicked off the state tournament last Thursday at the Baseline Tennis Center at the University of Minnesota with a 6-1, 6-0 win over sophomore Lucas Conboy of St. Cloud Tech.

Boyer moved on to defeat senior Zach Ekstein of Eagan 6-2, 6-4, before facing senior Manfred Barrios of Hopkins in the semifinals on Friday. Boyer won handily in set one, 6-0, and pulled out a 6-4 win in set two to reach the finals.

Boyer matched up against sophomore Nicholas Beaty of Wayzata, a lefty who won the Class AA doubles state title last year alongside then-senior Jack Graven. Beaty flew under the radar for much of the spring, ending the regular season with a No. 9 ranking before turning heads in the first round of the state tournament by beating reigning state champion Joel Richards of Minnetonka 6-3, 7-6 (5). The Trojan then cruised past Zachary Adkins of Maple Grove in the quarterfinals and Josh Gearou of Elk River in the semifinals.

Beaty came out strong to take a 2-0 lead in the championship match, but Boyer bounced back to take a 3-2 lead. Boyer and Beaty’s battle continued to a tiebreaker,  which Beaty pulled out 7-4 to take the lead.

Boyer served tough and utilized the corners to win the second set 6-4 and force a third set.

Beaty started it strong and jumped to a 4-2 lead.

In the seventh game, Boyer hit the net and then lost a point in net play to trail 30-0 before hitting a sharp cross-court shot just out of reach of Beaty’s backhand to close the gap, 30-15. Beaty hit long to even the score at 30, then Boyer took a 40-30 lead when Beaty’s shot hit the net. The duo danced back and forth until Boyer shot long on a defensive play against a Beaty overhand slam, which put the Wayzata star up, 5-2. Boyer wouldn’t recover, and, after one more battle at deuce, Beaty would seal the state title with a 6-2 third-set win.

“Nick played really well. I made too many unforced errors,” Boyer said. “If I would have just made more balls, it could have been different. If I was on, he couldn’t beat me, but I was missing shots and just made too many errors.”

Head coach Greg Patchin said the three-hour title match was eventful but just wouldn’t swing Boyer’s way.

“I thought it was everything you would expect,” Patchin said. “I thought Toby played very well; it’s just that Beaty played better. It seemed like every time we had a chance for a break or anytime we had a chance for a clutch point,  it went his way. Toby did a great job. He lost one match all season, lost two sets all season, so yeah, it’s disappointing to him, but it’s what it is.”

Patchin added that he thinks the two state runner-up finishes will fuel Boyer’s desire to defeat Beaty and win the title next season.

Boyer agrees.

“I want to beat him,” he said. “I want to destroy him.”