By BRIAN JENNINGS
It was the busiest week yet for the Blue Knight tennis team with a four matches that piled up on one another from early season rainouts, and Southington Coach Tony Mauro said that he is worried about his team’s level of play.
The team is at the midpoint of the season, and the coach said that his team still needs to be challenged.
“If you keep lifting weights that are way below the level of competition that you’re going to face down the road, you’re not going to be conditioned to do it when you do notice that weight,” said Mauro. “This is mentally and physically.”
This past week, two of Southington’s opponents fielded fewer than 10 players, as the Knights grabbed lines from a pair of forfeits. Mauro said that the Knights have now faced four teams with less than 10 players on the season, which could hurt them against the tougher competition down the road.
He said that he finds it very hard to believe that a team from a school with 1,600 boys cannot manage to make an announcement to the classroom during the school day and say that they’ll play varsity right off the hop.
“I find it hard to believe that someone can’t get to them, and I really have a problem with that,” said Mauro. “When you work hard at it, you want to see some competition. I don’ know what’s going on with these teams.”
The Knights (7-2) will be back on the courts this week with contests against Simsbury (2-6), Avon (5-1), and Bulkeley-HMTCA (0-11).
Loss at Farmington
MAY 1—Wins from Southington’s top two lines weren’t enough for a reloaded conference opponent, as a two-match winning streak was snapped after the Knights began the week on Monday with a 5-2 loss at Farmington, suffering their second loss of the season.
No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing and No.1 doubles Kevin Chudy-Jon Kryzanski garnered Southington’s two wins on the day. Balaoing prevailed in straight sets, and Chudy-Kryzanski outlasted Jeff Duan-Neel Mirani in a super tiebreaker, 7-5, 2-6, 10-5.
No. 2 singles Nate Zmarlicki, No. 3 singles Andrew Kudla, No. 4 singles Tyler Heidgerd, No. 2 doubles Adam Kosko-Kyle Naworol, and No. 3 doubles Mike Kwok-Marek Kryzanski fell in straight sets.
“We both played to our potential, but they just outdid us,” said Mauro. “I’m surprised that Farmington has such a strong team this year because I thought they were rebuilding last year, but they sure rebuild fast.”
Win at New Britain
MAY 2—Their opponent fielded only eight players, as the Knights bounced back from Monday’s loss the next day with a 7-0 sweep at New Britain.
In singles, No. 1 Balaoing, No. 2 Marek Kryzanski, No. 3 Kudla, and No. 4 Heidgerd won in straight sets. Kryzanski dropped just one game. In doubles, No. 1 Jon Kryzanski-Chudy and No. 2 Zmarlicki-Kosko won in straight sets as well. Jon Kryzanski-Chudy did not surrender a game. No. 3 Naworol-Kwok won by forfeit.
Win at Enfield-Somers
MAY 3—Zmarlicki went the distance against his opponent and helped preserve a perfect win in a super tiebreaker. The Knights traveled to Enfield High School on Thursday where they swept Enfield-Somers, 7-0.
In singles, No. 1 Balaoing, No. 3 Kudla, and No. 4 Heidgerd won in straight sets. Balaoing did not allow a game to slip through his grasp. No. 2 Zmarlicki traded 6-2 scores with Tom Byron in the first two sets, but it was Zmarlicki who rallied back from dropping the first set, prevailing in a super tiebreaker, 2-6, 6-2, 10-4.
In doubles, No. 1 Chudy-Jon Kryzanski and No. 2 Naworol-Kwok won in straight sets as well. Naworol-Kwok were perfect in their triumph. No. 3 Kosko-Marek Kryzanski won by forfeit.
Win vs. Manchester
MAY 4—The Knights capped off the week the next day with their third-straight win and fifth shutout of the season in a 7-0 sweep of Manchester at home.
In singles, No. 1 Balaoing, No. 2 Zmarlicki, No. 3 Kudla, and No. 4 Heidgerd won in straight sets. Zmarlicki dropped just two games in his win.
In doubles, No. 1 Chudy-Jon Kryzanski and No. 2 Kosko-Naworol won in straight sets as well. Chudy-Kryzanski did not drop a game. No. 3 Kwok-Marek Kryzanski won in straight sets, but had to work for it. They defeated Brian Michaud-Tyler Roya in a tiebreaking second set, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.