By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington coach Tony Mauro made changes to the lineup of the Blue Knight boys tennis team midway through the week, filling a doubles spot with a pair of freshmen that could come in handy down the road.
The change in the lineup not only unveiled a bright spot in the future of the program, but helped the Knights split the week with a pair of wins and a pair of losses, keeping Southington two matches above .500 and two wins shy of qualifying for the Class LL tournament as a team.
The Knights will look to qualify as a team for the state tournament this week with matches against Simsbury (7-2), Manchester (3-8), and Newington (6-6). Southing-ton is currently 7-5 overall.
Loss vs. Conard
MAY 8—The Knights began the week by dropping their second-straight match after falling by a point, 4-3, to Conard at home on Monday.
No. 3 singles Erik Kryzanski rallied back to prevail in a three-set super tiebreaker, 4-6, 6-3, 10-5, after dropping the first set. No. 1 doubles Jon Kryzanski and Kevin Chudy and No. 2 doubles Sam Johnson and Mike Listro won in straight sets.
No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing, No. 2 singles Rohan Kataria, No. 4 singles Nate Zmarlicki, and No. 3 doubles Mike Kwok and DJ Pestillo lost in straight sets.
Win at NW Catholic
MAY 10—The next day, the Knights broke their two-match losing streak by recording their fourth shutout of the season with a 7-0 sweep at NW Catholic.
No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing, No. 2 singles Mike Balaoing, No. 3 singles Erik Kryzanski, No. 4 singles Zmarlicki No. 1 doubles Jon Kryzanski and Chudy, and No. 2 doubles Johnson and Listro won in straight sets. Kryzanski did not surrender a single game. Jon Kryzanski and Chudy surrendered just one game.
Freshmen Marek Kryzanski and Andrew Kudla were put at No. 3 doubles and won the first varsity match of their high school careers in straight sets as well.
“That was a big item,” said Mauro. “They were exceptional for beginners. They came in and did well right from the opening gun. They just played sold.”
Win at Windsor
MAY 11—The Knights earned their second-straight win with a 6-1 victory at Windsor on Thursday.
No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing, No. 3 singles Zmarlicki, and No. 4 singles Loose won in straight sets. No. 1 doubles Erik Kryzanski and Kataria, No. 2 doubles Jon Kryzanski and Chudy, and No. 3 doubles Johnson and Listro won in straight sets as well. Jon Kryzanski and Chudy did not surrender a single game.
No. 2 singles Mike Balaoing went the full three sets with Windsor’s Andy O’Reilly, but could not hold on in a super tiebreaker, falling, 0-6, 7-5, 10-7.
Loss vs. Avon
MAY 12—Southington’s two-match winning streak was snapped when the Knights rounded out the week with a 5-2 loss to Avon at home the next day.
No. 2 singles Mike Balaoing prevailed in a third-set super tiebreaker over Avon’s Chris Araero, 6-1, 5-7, 10-7. No. 2 doubles Jon Kryzanski and Chudy held Southington’s other win, taking their match in straight sets.
No. 1 doubles Erik Kryzanski and Kataria went the full three sets, but could not hold on in the super tiebreaker, falling, 2-6, 6-3, 13-11, to Avon’s Austin Chen and Evan Purcell.
No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing, No. 3 singles Zmarlicki, No. 4 singles Loose, and No. 3 doubles Johnson and Listro lost in straight sets.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (www.southingtonobserver.com/2017/05/16/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-may-19-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.