Remembering the top local tennis players of all time

Published on Friday, 1 May 2020 15:23
Written by RYAN CHICHESTER

@ryanchichester1

There hasn’t been a lot of memorable team success at the state level for area tennis squads over the years and decades, but that doesn’t mean the area is without top-tier tennis stars that thrived individually during their high school careers.

From back-to-back state champions to consecutive All-State nods, the local tennis scene has displayed plenty of quality talent, some of which thrived on the big stage as early as last year. Berlin appears to have the most decorated tennis history of all the local schools, and a three-time All-State talent who just graduated in 2019 continued that legacy.

Here are the top local tennis players of all time:

JASON DEGROFF, BERLIN

The Redcoats as a team have never won a state championship, but DeGroff did during his time at Berlin. A two-time All-State selection in 1986 and 1988, DeGroff is one of the most accomplished tennis players in school history. His state title came in 1988, when he took home the 1988 Class M championship in doubles with partner Jamie Munson.

EVAN GOLDSTEIN, NEWINGTON

The Newington boys tennis team has only had one All-State player in program history, and that label belongs to Goldstein. But that doesn’t tell the whole story behind his remarkable career. He was named All-State three times during his tenure with the Indians, taking home the honor in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Goldstein is without a doubt the top tennis player in Newington history, and it will be hard for anyone to take his place.

SCOTT TREVETHAN, BERLIN

Scott’s son Jon will also appear on this list, but before Jon was dominating Class M, Scott was impressing the area himself, claiming All-State honors in 1988 and would eventually go on to play for the Central Connecticut State University tennis team before that program was cut from the school.

DAN ROMBOLA, BERLIN

The Redcoats’ strong tennis tradition within the local area continued with Rombola, one of the most accomplished Berlin tennis players in the 21st century. During the Class M state tournament, Rombola rolled through the first three rounds without losing a set to reach the quarterfinals, where he beat fifth-seeded Dennis Henning in a decisive third set to move on to the semifinals, where he lost to top-seeded Bradley Orban, the eventual state champion.

Rombola had another chance at Orban the following year, when a focused Rombola rolled to the championship match after once again not losing a set until his matchup with Orban. Rombola came up short in the title match, and history repeated itself in 2014, when he lost to Orban in the final once again. But Rombola closed the gap each time the two faced off, and he concluded his decorated high school career with three All-State selections and went on to play at the University of Hartford.

LIBBY LODOVICO, ST. PAUL

Lodovico was an All-State selection with the Falcons in 1988, and truly made a mark on the tennis court when she moved on to play at Assumption College. Along with teammate Kristen Coker, Lodovico was runner-up in first-flight doubles in the Northeast-10 conference in 1993. That was just part of her remarkable career with the Greyhounds.

A two-time captain at Assumption, Lodovico went a perfect 16-0 in doubles as a senior, which remains the only undefeated doubles season in school history. She was a No. 2 singles conference champion as a freshman and earned first team all-conference her senior year. She was inducted into Assumption’s Hall of Fame in 2010.

LANI HESSION, ST. PAUL

We can’t forget about Lodovico’s teammate and doubles partner Hession, who was named All-State with Lodovico in 1988. Together, the two represent the team’s first and only state champions ever.

SHAHIDA ABDULSALAM, BRISTOL EASTERN

The Lancers’ No. 1 singles player during her high school career, Abdulsalam made history in 2010 when she became the first in Eastern history to be named All-State after a remarkable individual season where she went a perfect 7-0 against No. 1 singles competition in the CCC South, then made it to the third round of the State Open after earning the No. 14 overall seed.

During the 2010 season, Lancers head coach Tom Chauvin declared that Abdulsalam was the best tennis player the school had seen in the past 35 years. There might not have been a better one since.

ABBY MURPHY, SOUTHINGTON

Murphy was dominant in her junior season with the Blue Knights last year, and looked poised to make a run at a state title as a senior had the spring state championships not been canceled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Murphy, Southington’s No. 1 singles player last year, went 18-0 during the regular season and 21-2 overall, reaching the third round of the State Open. Her efforts earned her all-conference and All-State honors, and she also completed her season goal of reaching the third round of the Class L state tournament.

JON TREVETHAN, BERLIN

Saving the best for last here and going with arguably the most dominant local tennis player of all time. Trevethan reached the Class M state championship match as a sophomore after reaching the quarterfinals as a freshman, and he continued to rise in the ranks as a junior, when he put together a historic season.

Trevethan finished his junior year 24-0 and didn’t lose a set all year, not even in the state tournament when he rolled to a state championship win as the top overall seed, taking down No. 2 Sebastian Casellas to take home the title. Trevethan was back for more as a senior, this time not losing a set until the state championship match, which he won anyway for his second title in a row. His 2019 campaign was his third straight All-State nod and fourth all-conference selection in a row. He moved on to join the tennis team at Roger Williams University.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin, Newington, Southington on Friday, 1 May 2020 15:23. Updated: Friday, 1 May 2020 15:25.