NEW BRITAIN - The first tennis match of the season for New Britainâ€™s top doubles team of Danya Alboslani and Yajaira Asimbaya ended in a victory, though the nature of the win had head coach Joe Canzanella shaking his head.
â€śThey should have been one of the first matches done,â€ť Canzanella said as he watched from the other side of the chain link fence while Alboslani and Asimbaya battled through a win of 6-3 and 6-4 against Wilcox Tech.
Canzanella immediately instructed his formidable duo to â€śstep into my officeâ€ť after their match was secured, to remind his first doubles team that they would have to be better against top competitors in the CCC if they both wanted to earn all-conference selections for the second straight season and guide the Hurricanes to another state tournament berth.
â€śI told them last year was last year, and this year is this year,â€ť Canzanella said. â€śThey have to earn it all over again. They understand that. Theyâ€™re very bright kids and they understand how good they can play.â€ť
Both Alboslani and Asimbaya expressed disappointment in their first performance of the season, but never showed it on the court. For a pair that shared an instant bond once they became doubles partners last season, they know frustration with each other will only cripple their chances of another productive year.
â€śWe understand that we shouldnâ€™t get mad when we criticize each other,â€ť Asimbaya said. â€śWe understand that itâ€™s not coming from a negative place.â€ť
The ability of the two Hurricanes to communicate and make in-match adjustments helped make them one of the best duos in the CCC last year. And they will have to be even better this season after both departing New Britain seniors came from the singles side of the team, meaning Canzanella will be relying on his top doubles pair even more this year.
â€śIâ€™m going to lean heavily on my doubles players to get points,â€ť Canzanella said. â€śWhen it comes to better teams that are atop the CCC, weâ€™re absolutely going to need those doubles teams to carry the load.â€ť
Alboslani and Asimbaya welcome the added reliance and are up for the task.
â€śI think itâ€™s a big motivator for us to know that the team is counting on us,â€ť Alboslani said. â€śWe have to make sure we win all our matches and make the team proud of us and us proud of ourselves.â€ť
The rest of the Hurricanes already watch their doubles teammates with a sense of pride, especially after the two helped New Britain reach the state tournament for the second straight season in 2018.
â€śTheyâ€™re so good,â€ť sophomore JuJu Oliver said after winning her singles match on Tuesday. â€śThey have a connection that I donâ€™t think any other girls have. They just always know what each other is doing.â€ť
That connection seemed to blossom instantly after the two were paired together last season, but both Alboslani and Asimbaya know their relationship began before they even played on the same team.
â€śWe became really quick friends,â€ť Alboslani said. â€śEven when I was on JV and she was on varsity, we still talked. Most of it is just our communication. We get along on and off the court.â€ť
So when the two evaluated their performance after Mondayâ€™s match, there was no disagreement. Both had things to improve upon, and they would get it done the same way they have since last season: together.
â€śThis match showed us what we need to work on, and weâ€™re ready to work on that stuff during our practices,â€ť Asimbaya said. â€śWe just want to get better and improve our skill. There were some teams we faced last year that we knew weâ€™d have to be better to beat, so we want to keep improving to be able to do that.â€ť