By BRIAN JENNINGS
Three straight wins this past week put the Blue Knight tennis team back in the driver’s seat and in control of their own destiny as they head into heavy divisional play. But as the Knights venture into the tough stretch of their regular season schedule, they might have to do it without one of their key starters.
Movement in a set varsity lineup could play havoc in strategy against opposing teams. However, experimenting with a theory that has been tested before might pay off for the Knights in the long run.
“I’ve been mulling over what I can do to change the lineup,” said Southington coach Tony Mauro.” I did this a couple years ago, and it worked like a charm. It wasn’t stacking, but we got away with winning the division.”
Win vs. Farmington
APRIL 24—The Knights began the week by bouncing back from last week’s road loss to South Windsor with a 5-2 victory over Farmington at home on Monday. Although it was a three-point win, the match was much closer than the final score indicated, as the Knights outscored the Indians by just four total games, 62-58.
No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing, No. 2 singles Mike Balaoing, and No. 3 singles Rohan Kataria won in straight sets. No. 1 doubles Jon Kryzanski and Kevin Chudy prevailed in a three-set super tiebreaker, rallying back to take the second and third sets after dropping the first, 0-6, 7-5, 10-4.
“They’re getting by pretty well,” said Mauro. “They’re quiet, they do their job, they’re very methodical, and they’re very effective. There is a song called, ‘Killing Me Softly,’ and that is an apt description of those two players.”
No. 4 singles Erik Kryzanski, No. 2 doubles Sam Johnson and Mike Listro, and No. 3 doubles Nate Zmarlicki and Mike Loose lost in straight sets.
Win at RHAM
APRIL 27—A few days later, the Knights dropped just one set to prevail in a 6-1 victory at RHAM.
No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing, No. 2 singles Mike Balaoing, No. 3 singles Erik Kryzanski, No. 4 singles Zmarlicki, and No. 1 doubles Jon Kryzanski and Chudy won in straight sets. No. 3 doubles Loose and Turner Rodman rallied back to take their match in three sets, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, after dropping the first set.
“The other two guys were serving beautifully,” said Mauro. “They had nice, slice and topspin serves. But our guys tuned into it after I gave them some coaching tips.”
No. 2 doubles Johnson and Listro fell in straight sets.
Win at Bulkeley-HMTCA
APRIL 28—The Knights rounded out the week by earning their third-straight win and recorded their second shutout of the season at Bulkeley-HMTCA Co-op with a 7-0 sweep on Friday.
No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing, No. 2 singles Mike Balaoing, No. 3 singles Zmarlicki, No. 1 doubles Jon Kryzanski and Chudy, No. 2 doubles Listro, and No. 3 doubles Loose and Rodman won in straight sets without dropping a single game. No. 4 singles Dan Pestillo won by forfeit.
The Knights will look to extend their winning streak this week when they travel to Hall (7-1) on Monday, May 1, and return home to host Wethersfield (4-2) on Wednesday, May 3 and Glastonbury (7-1) on Friday, May 5. Hall and Glastonbury are both currently ranked in the top 10 of Class L and Class LL. Southington is currently 4-1 overall and sixth in Class LL.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/05/02/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-may-5-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.