Southington boys tennis began a busy week with a 7-0 win over an overmatched Platt outfit on April 29 at the Bob Garry tennis courts. What followed on April 30 was a tough 4-3 loss at Glastonbury on April 30.
It was a grueling matchup, with three matches needing a third set super tiebreaker to decide a winner. The Blue Knights won the super tiebreaker at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, but the Tomahawks took the tiebreaker at No. 3 doubles and won the match.
Southington rebounded from the Glastonbury loss with a 7-0 win over New Britain on May 1 at home. The Knights had their May 3 matchup at Manchester postponed due to rain and finished the week with an overall record of 8-2.
The match of the week came against Glastonbury, and it went down to the wire. Matt Balaoing and Marek Kryzanski saw their No. 1 and No. 2 singles go to the third set super tiebreaker. For Balaoing, it was the third straight match to be decided by super tiebreaker. The first two super tiebreakers, which were played the week before, went in favor of Balaoing’s opponents. This time, Balaoing won, 1-6, 6-4, 10-8.
“He was just digging it out. He got beat in the first set, 6-1, so it looked like wow is he going to get blown out here?” coach Tony Mauro said. “He just went back, started the next set with the same focus that he had here, the same rhythmic approach to the game.”
After Balaoing won the second set, 6-4, Mauro said: “I said OK, that’s one set. I said to him, you OK? And he said I’m fine. He ground it out, it wasn’t a blowout. You could see that every point was a grind for both of them.”
Kryzanski also broke through in a super tiebreaker, beating his opponent, 6-2, 5-7, 10-8. He handled the adversity well and was able to claim a big win.
“I thought it was a big day for Marek,” Mauro said.
Kyle Naworol claimed a win at No. 4 singles, 6-2, 6-2. Unfortunately for Southington, Glastonbury swept doubles. That included a win at No. 3 doubles over Tyler Heidgerd and Jacob Sutton by the scores of 6-4, 2-6, 10-8. The loss was a tough one for the Knights, but Mauro said his players were warriors.
When Southington played Platt on April 29, Balaoing, Kudla and Naworol all won their singles matches, 6-0, 6-0. Kryzanski had the other singles win for the Knights, 6-0, 6-2. Southington swept doubles behind the teams of Heidgerd and Jacob Sutton; Kosko and Huang-Savino; and Kwok and Ethan Sutton. Heidgerd and Jacob Sutton won, 6-1, 6-1; Kosko and Huang-Savino won, 6-0, 6-1; and Kwok and Ethan Sutton won, 6-0, 6-3.
The goal for the Platt matchup was to retain as much focus as possible, according to Mauro. That wasn’t easy against a team that struggled to get the ball over the net.
“You can’t just go out and play the game,” Mauro said. “It’s like golf, you can’t just go out and play it. You got to be able to hit the ball.”
It was more of the same in the New Britain matchup on May 1. Kryzanski and Naworol won singles matches by scores of 6-0, 6-0. The No. 2 doubles team of Kosko and Ethan Sutton won, 6-0, 6-0, as did the No. 3 doubles team of Billy Wadolowski and D.J. Pestillo.
“I’m trying to get guys a chance to play in five matches,” Mauro said of the pairing of Wadolowski and Pestillo.
Balaoing dropped a single game in his No. 1 singles win, 6-0, 6-1, and the same went for Kudla at No. 3 singles, 6-1, 6-0. The No. 1 doubles team of Huang-Savino and Heidgerd won, 6-0, 6-1.
Mauro said he felt for New Britain coach Joe Vaverchak, who has been coaching for nearly a quarter-century.
“He’s a guidance counselor, he’s a people person,” Mauro said about Vaverchak.
Up next: Southington has four matches this week. The Knights were at Simsbury on Monday, then hosted Avon on Tuesday. Southington plays Bulkeley/HMTCA on Friday at Bulkeley High School in Hartford. On Saturday, the Knights host Enfield/Somers at 11 a.m.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com