Last season was filled with mixed results for the local boys tennis teams as some made some improvement, while others took a step back. New Britain and Southington were among the teams to take a bit of a step back last season, while Berlin and Plainville showed some. Newington is coming off of back-to-back 12-6 seasons but, like the other local teams, will have to replace some key players from last season that graduated.
There are some big time players that are returning this year and there will likely be players that take a big step forward to help their teams improve. How successful the local teams will be this upcoming season is up in the air with a lot of roster turnover, but there is plenty of returning talent to make this season one to look forward to.
Here is a closer look at the local teams:
Head coach (year): Joe Vaverchak (20th season)
Last year: 8-10
Key losses: Michael Zyla
Expected key returnees: Travis Brown (Senior)
Outlook: The New Britain boys tennis team took a bit of a step back last season as it dropped from 12 wins to eight wins. The Hurricanes are losing Michael Zyla from their starting lineup this season but will return more key pieces than they have in previous seasons. Senior Travis Brown is one of the key returnees and should help lead New Britain back on an upward trajectory.
Head coach: Rex Smith
Last year: 9-8
Key losses: Jorday Chyra, Joe Konowski, Evan McKinnon, Adrian Wojtun
Key Returnees: Jon Trevathan (Sophomore), Thomas Fijalkowski (Junior), Nick Halkias (Senior), Justin Kemmling (Senior), Ben Kennure (Senior), Jay Adams (Senior)
Outlook: The Berlin boys tennis team is coming off a season in which it finished just above .500. This year it expects to be better as the team hopes to be a contender. The Redcoats suffer a bit from having players that don’t play tennis all-year round but the strength of the team is the first and second singles, Jon Trevathan and Thomas Fijalkowski. Trevathan went 16-1 as a freshman a season ago and is ranked 41st in New England in combined singles and doubles for boys 16 and under.
Head coach (year): Don Lukowski (19th season)
Last year: 12-6
Key losses: Ron Abraham, Connor Buckley, Adam Porell, Darin Mathew, Pete Wroblewski
Key returnees: Shelbin Cheriyan (Senior), Ryan Dean (Junior), Ben Arora (Junior), Josh Ellis (Junior), Dave Magsayo (Junior), Gynno Baccoco (Junior), Sam Johnson (Sophomore), Sean Davis (Sophomore).
Outlook: The Newington boys tennis team is coming off of a good 2016 season but it will have to deal with losing its three top players from that squad this season. Head coach Don Lukowski expects that void to be filled by Shelbin Cheriyan, Ryan Dean and Ben Arora. The team is large and therefore should have plenty of depth so the expectations for the Indians are high.
“I'm looking forward to a successful season, given the talent that we have returning," Lukowski said.
Head coach (year): Tony Mauro (10th season)
Last Year: 14-6
Key losses: Ben Chasse, Jake Chasse
Expected key returnees: Mike Balaoing (Senior), Erik Kryzanski (Senior)
Outlook: The Southington boys tennis team entered last season as a bit of a question mark. The Blue Knights were coming off of a 16-1 season but had lost their top four singles players. Still though, Southington went 14-6 a season ago and didn’t miss a beat. Once again the Blue Knights will have to deal with some major losses, namely the Chasse brothers who were the teams top doubles pair, but there aren’t as many key losses as a season ago so another dominant season is not out of the question.
Head coach (year): Mercurio Evangelista (4th season)
Last year: 6-10
Key losses: Jarod Romankiw, Joey Slivinsky, Joey Chacho
Expected key returnees: Brandon Mello (Senior), Ethan Hushin (Senior), Brandon Zheng (Sophomore)
Outlook: The Plainville boys tennis team made a slight improvement a season ago improving from five wins to six. The Blue Devils though, might find it difficult to make a similar improvement this season as they lost their top three singles players from a season ago in Jarod Romankiw, Joey Slivinsky and Joey Chacho. Plainville does bring back a key doubles pairing in Brandon Mello and Ethan Hushin and sophomore Brandon Zheng, who was the fourth singles as a freshman a season ago so not all hope is lost for a successful season. A lot will depend on what other players step up for the Blue Devils.
Michael Woolfson can be reached at 860-801-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @Bigwoolf5