By KEVIN ROBERTS
There are some things that happen in sports that are rare. In golf, it’s a double-eagle, or “albatross”. In baseball, it’s a perfect game.
In the sport of tennis, a rare feat is the golden set. A golden set means a player or players not only avoid losing a game, but don’t even drop a single point. That’s what Southington’s No. 2 doubles team of Adam Kosko and Kyle Narowol did in their match against Berlin on April 17.
The great effort from Kosko and Narowol helped the Blue Knights beat the Redcoats 6-1 and improve to 4-0 on the season. Narowol had lost his No. 4 singles spot to Kade Huang-Savino during Mauro’s match play practice system, but he and Kosko achieved something rare in their doubles match.
“It’s 24 straight points,” coach Tony Mauro said. “You might think that would happen more often, but the reason it doesn’t happen at the higher level, in men’s especially, is because the guys have these big serves. They’ve got that, and you’re not going to return it.”
The big serve, however, can lead to a double fault, which also means a point loss. Mauro said it had been done a couple years ago in the women’s game. Yaroslava Shvedova did it at Wimbledon in 2017, taking all 24 points in just 15 minutes. Kosko and Narowol won their first set 6-1 before pulling off the golden set.
It was a good day overall for Southington against a Berlin team that is rebuilding.
“I thought the other team competed pretty well, considering this new coach that used to be with me has got this culture that he has to turn around,” Mauro said. “He has 12 players, I have 27.”
That coach’s name is Mike Flannery, who was with Mauro as an assistant before taking over in Newington. Flannery spent two years in Newington, then moved on to Berlin. Don Lukowski, who was also an assistant under Mauro, now leads the Newington program.
Berlin does have a great No. 1 singles player in senior Jon Trevethan, who won the Class M individual championship last year. Southington’s Matt Balaoing was bested, 6-1, 6-1, by Trevethan, who hasn’t lost a set in any of his victories since the beginning of the 2018 season. Trevethan has one loss in the past two seasons, and that came at the state open.
“The No. 1 player took our No. 1 guy, but he was outstanding,” Mauro said of Trevethan.
All of Southington’s wins came in straight sets. Marek Kryzanski won, 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 singles, Andrew Kudla won, 6-0, 6-1 at No. 3 singles, and Huang-Savino won, 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4 singles. The No. 1 doubles team of Nate Zmarlicki and Mike Kwok won, 6-3, 6-2. The No. 3 doubles team of Ethan Sutton and Pio Castellano won, 6-0, 6-1.
Mauro has the opposite problem of his former assistant Flannery. Mauro’s task is getting 27 players court time with seven courts to play on.
“If you divide that seven into 27, you’ve got to put doubles on every court, and how are you going to run any kind of competition head-to-head if you’ve got too many kids on one court?” Mauro said. “Then you get the rain. I’m a big aficionado of match play, so how do I do that, how do I run that? We don’t have a feeder program.”
Mauro said he has a big team so that there will be future tennis players. As for the present, Southington worked hard for its 6-1 win over Berlin, but the road gets tougher from here.
“We have to build up to the heavy hitters coming down the road, and we’ve got some coming,” Mauro said.
Up next: Southington was scheduled for a match Tuesday at Newington (3-2 as of Tuesday morning). After that was Farmington (4-0) at home on Wednesday. The Knights finish out a four-match week with contests against E.O. Smith (2-1) on Thursday and Enfield/Somers (2-1) on Friday. All home matches start at 3:45 p.m.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com