By BRIAN JENNINGS
Considering the normal up-and-down challenges that every season presents, Southington coach Tony Mauro said that he is still confident his Blue Knight tennis team will turn things around after dropping two more matches this past week. But if he were to rate his team on a scale of 1-10 at this point in the season, Mauro said that they would be about an 8.5.
“We will not reach our number one goal of winning our division that we set at the start,” the coach said. “We will likely come close to our goal of a .800 win-loss percentage. The teams in the blue division are tough.”
The Knights will look to get back on track this week with matches against Conard (8-4), NW Catholic (1-9), Windsor (0-6), and Avon (7-1). Southington is currently 5-3 overall.
Loss at Hall
MAY 1—Southington’s three-match winning streak was snapped after the Knights suffered a 5-2 loss at Hall on Monday. Southington has beaten Hall once in the past 11 years.
“We did the best we could under the circumstances that were there,” said Mauro. “The talent was slightly more, and they deserved to win. Is it the 62 players and four coaches they have? I think it’s the culture and opportunity up there.”
No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing and No. 1 doubles Jon Kryzanski and Kevin Chudy garnered Southington’s only wins on the day. Balaoing rallied back to prevail in a super tiebreaker, 3-6, 6-3, 10-5, after dropping the first set. Kryzanski and Chudy prevailed in a super tiebreaker as well, 6-3, 2-6, 10-8, holding on to take the third set after dropping the second set.
No. 2 singles Mike Balaoing, No. 3 singles Erik Kryzanski, No. 4 singles Nate Zmarlicki, No. 2 doubles Will Carpenter and Sam Johnson, and No. 3 doubles Mike Loose and Turner Rodman lost in straight sets.
Win vs. Wethersfield
MAY 3—The Knights bounced back from Monday’s loss a couple days later by earning their fifth win of the season with a 7-0 sweep of Wethersfield at home. It took him three sets, but No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing defeated Wethersfield’s Grant Anderson, 6-4, 3-6, 10-6, prevailing in a super tiebreaker after dropping the second set.
No. 3 singles Erik Kryzanski didn’t go the full three rounds with Wethersfield’s Liam Harrington, but he was faced with a super tiebreaker as well. Kryzanski came out on top, 7-6 (7-0 super tiebreaker), 6-2.
No. 2 singles Mike Balaoing, No. 4 singles Zmarlicki, No. 1 doubles Jon Kryzanski and Chudy, No. 2 doubles Johnson and Mike Listro, and No. 3 doubles Loose and Rodman won in straight sets.
Loss vs. Glastonbury
MAY 4—The Knights fell back into the losing column when they dropped their third match of the season after falling, 6-1, to Glastonbury at home on Thursday.
“We ran with them for the first half of the match,” said Mauro. “Then, they made some adjustments. We, in turn, did not have the level of sophistication in our arsenal to counter them. Our comfort zone is holding us back.”
No. 3 doubles Johnson and Loose came away with Southington’s lone win on the day, prevailing in three sets, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, over Glastonbury’s Ben Harris and Rahul Shah in a rally from dropping the second set.
No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing, No. 2 singles Mike Balaoing, No. 3 singles Erik Kryzanski, No. 4 singles Zmarlicki, No. 1 doubles Rohan Kataria and Listro, and No. 2 doubles Jon Kryzanski and Chudy lost in straight sets.
This was Kataria’s first match back after missing the last five.
“He’s been a key player from day one,” the coach said. “It’s not to say that we don’t have nine other players that are good players. Having him back is a big item.”
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/05/10/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-may-12-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.