By John Goralski
It wasn’t easy, but it still counts as a win. On Friday, May 2, the Blue Knight tennis team opened the conference schedule in West Hartford and escaped with a 4-3 victory.
For Coach Tony Mauro, it was a good measure for his young team.
“It was a tough match, and it could have gone either way,” said the coach. “It was exciting, but I didn’t think it would be this close.”
Southington singles carried the contest with Kunal Kataria, Nate Mullins, Grant Ogrin, and Luke Pfanzelt winning in straight sets. Conard was able to sweep doubles play, but Southington had already clinched the series.
“I expected them to give us a hard time, but if it wasn’t for our four singles players we would have gotten clobbered,” said Mauro. “Their doubles were really good. They were good at the net, and we have work to do.”
Mauro said that he wasn’t totally surprised. Southington fields a host of inexperienced players in doubles, and Conard took advantage of better communication and experience at the net. Mauro said it was all part of the learning curve, and it helped point out things to work on in practice.
“We have two freshmen playing doubles that are very good singles players, but doubles is to singles what chess is to checkers,” he said. “It’s a completely different game. We have to learn not to try to kill every shot. In doubles, you have to work your people out of position. We have to make them cough the ball up to you, so we’ll work on that in practice.”
Mauro wasn’t too alarmed by the lapse. Against lesser opponents, Southington’s doubles have been holding their own. On Monday, Chris Hupper-Alex Angelillo, Miek Balaoing-Rohan Kataria, and Jacob Chasse-Ben Chasse each won in straight sets as Southington cruised past Plainville, 7-0.
Now comes the fun part. Southington will face Fermi (1-3) and East Hartford (1-5) this week before plunging back into conference play.
“We’re going to be alright,” said Mauro, “but we’re going to have a lot of work to do.”