By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Blue Knights suffered their first loss of the season against one of the toughest opponents on their regular season schedule, splitting the week with a win and a loss, but Southington coach Tony Mauro said that the loss was a good yard stick of where the team currently is.
“We’re okay,” said Mauro. “But I am going to be changing the lineup in the next couple of days.”
In spite of the loss, the Knights are still sitting two matches above .500, and Mauro said that he’s really pleased with his players.
“I’m very pleased that we have talent, and I’m pleased with the team’s camaraderie,” said Mauro. “It’s the best camaraderie I think I’ve ever had in 27 players.”
What the team has to work on a lot, according to Mauro, is composure, coping with adversity, and controlling the emotions. They have to work on super and regular tiebreakers too.
“It seems like it’s going to be a major factor in the season,” said Mauro. “It could be the basis for upsets, and hopefully, we could upset Hall or a team like them. If we could split sets with teams, we’re on an equal footing with them.”
The Knights will be back on the courts this week with contests against Newington (4-2), Farmington (2-1), and Enfield-Somers (2-4). Southington is 3-1.
Southington forced Glastonbury into four tiebreakers on Friday, April 20, but only managed to take one tiebreaker. The Knights nabbed a couple of points in their first loss, 5-2, of the season to Tomahawks at home, snapping their two-match winning streak.
Southington’s lone two winners on the day were No. 3 singles Nate Zmarlicki over Samarth Menta in a super tiebreaker, 4-6, 6-3, 10-4, and No. 1 doubles Kevin Chudy-Andrew Kudla over Ethan Longo-Matt Parker in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.
No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing (10-5 super tiebreaker), No. 4 singles Marek Kryzanski (10-7 super tiebreaker), and No. 3 doubles Mike Kwok-Kyle Naworol (10-6 super tiebreaker) fell in super tiebreakers. No. 2 singles Jon Kryzanski and No. 2 doubles Adam Kosko-Tyler Heidgerd fell in straight sets.
“We came very close to beating them, despite what the score looked liked,” said Mauro. “I made a statement without letting the kids know my skepticism about us being favored, because we certainly weren’t the favorites, but I knew that we would be competitive. So I was pretty accurate there.”
The Knights bounced back from Friday’s loss the next day to earn their third win of the season by sweeping doubles with a 5-2 victory of their own at EO Smith.
No. 1 doubles Kevin Chudy-Andrew Kudla and No. 2 doubles Adam Kosko-Marek Kryzanski won in straight sets. Kosko-Kryzanski prevailed without dropping a game.
No. 1 singles Matt Balaoing outlasted Quentin Walliser in a super tiebreaker, 6-4, 3-6 (10-6 super tiebreaker), and No. 4 singles Tyler Heidgerd and No 3 doubles Mike Kwok-Kyle Narowol won by forfeit. No. 2 singles Jon Kryzanski and No. 3 singles Nate Zmarlicki fell in straight sets.
“I knew they were strong in singles,” said Mauro. “They’re one through four singles players were good players. We knew we were going to beat them, but I didn’t think that they would play us as tough as they did.”
For more in depth coverage, see our weekly print edition. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.