By John Goralski
Luke Pfanzelt was the only one to sweep every set to capture two wins, but everyone else still won in straight sets. The Blue Knight tennis team resumed action last week with a pair of shutouts against undermatched teams.
The Knights improved to 3-0 in the early season, but Coach Tony Mauro still isn’t ready to predict his team’s chances this spring. Frankly, it’s just too soon to tell.
“Some of the teams that we’ve faced so far are rebuilding,” said the coach. “We have to take that into consideration, but I’m still taking that wait-and-see attitude about where we are as a team. I think we’re going to be fine in the first half of the schedule. After that, I’m still undecided.”
Mauro is trying to temper expectations for his young team because they have yet to be tested. Until then, Mauro is trying to keep the focus on fundamentals.
“I’m looking for fundamentals and net play. I’m focusing on every point, regardless of what the score is,” he said. “We need to be focused because, when we’re playing tougher players later in the season, that’s what we’ll have to do. If we get ahead enough in matches, we have to use this as practice time for new things. We have to.”
On the other hand, the Knights are off to a great start even if it was fully expected. That’s because the Knights are taking care of business.
On Wednesday, April 23, Southington resumed play after a two week gap in competition. The boys responded with a 7-0 win over Bristol Central.
The Rams entered the competition with their third coach in four years and just eight of the 10 players needed to field a full team. Southington won easily.
“They are still having trouble with a good feeder system,” said Mauro. “That’s so important in building a program.”
Kunal Kataria, Nate Mullins, Grant Ogrin, and Pfanzelt won in singles competition. Chris Hupper and Will Lefkovich won at No. 1 doubles, while Rohan Kataria andMike Balaoing won in straight sets at No. 2 doubles. Bristol forfeited the third doubles match.
Two days later, Southington traveled to Enfield to take on another fledgling program. Fermi was able to field a full team, but the Knights came away with another 7-0 win.
Pfanzelt won, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 4 singles. Ben Chasse and Jacob Chasse scored a perfect shutout at No. 3 doubles, and everybody else won in straight sets. Kataria, Mullins, and Ogrin won at singles, while Hupper-Lefkovich and Baloing-Rohan Kataria score wins at doubles.
“They are also in a rebuilding situation,” said Mauro. “They might hook them up with Enfield High School in the future, and that could make them really tough. As a co-op program, they can be really good.”
Southington will try to continue their momentum into this week with three opponents. They’ll host Plainville (0-4) and Rocky Hill (2-2) before traveling to Conard (6-0) on Friday for the conference opener.
That might be Southington’s first real test.