By BRIAN JENNINGS
Matt Balaoing’s postseason run came to an end after he fell in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0, to top-seeded Evan Felcher of Staples in the third round of the singles bracket of Class LL tournament at Yale University in New Haven on Tuesday, May 30.
“Matt realizes that improvement in tennis is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Southington coach Tony Mauro. “From this experience, I’m sure he has taken away an opportunity to see what areas he can improve on in his game.”
Balaoing was the only Southington player still standing after the first day of the state tournament, defeating Hamden’s Justyn Wongwiwat, 6-0, 6-0, in the first round and Glastonbury’s Jameson Corey, 6-4, 6-3, in the second round.
“He sees how high the bar is now,” the coach said. “I know he will take his game to an even higher standard because he has that sincere passion for the game to motivate him.”
Felcher eventually advanced to the final and claimed the Class LL singles title by defeating No. 2 Eric Toub of Greenwich in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. No. 3 Andrew Mercorella and Brian Song of Ridgefield took home the Class LL doubles title by defeating No. 4 Jake Greenwald and Jack Tooker of Staples in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1. Staples was the Class LL champion, and Greenwich finished as runner-up. Ridgefield took third, followed by Westhill (4th), Amity (5th), and Fairfield Prep (6th).
The Knights are losing seven seniors to graduation after this season, including Mike Balaoing, Sam Johnson, Erik Kryzanski, Mike Listro, Mike Loose, Andrew Premus, and Turner Rodman. Southington finished the season at 11-6 overall.
Looking forward to next season, the Knights could experience a semi-rebuilding year with young players coming up. But Mauro believes that the team has a bright future.
“Our number one singles and number one doubles are pretty solid, and should be able to set the pace,” said Mauro. “Much will depend on how much time our players practice and compete in tournaments from now to March of 2018. So far, it is quite promising though.”
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/06/05/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-june-9-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.