Newington boys tennis seniors reflect on journey

Published on Thursday, 13 May 2021 19:38
Written by Ryan Ames

@_RyanAmes

NEWINGTON – Seniors Matt Utter, Tim Davis, Shivam Patel and Will Ofori each starred in the Newington boys tennis’ 7-0 win over New Britain on Wednesday.

The Nor’easters earned their fifth-straight victory during senior day and the upperclassmen reflected back on their careers and the camaraderie among the foursome following the match.

“It’s like a brotherhood basically,” Patel said. “Make sure we have each other’s backs. Make sure we’re not sad or anything, we’re happy, we’re enjoying the game and really just making sure we’re all good.”

“I always we say we’re like a second family and it’s true,” Davis said. “On the court, off the court we’re always there for each other and it’s just great to have something like.”

Matt Utter has put together an incredible career at Newington as the senior is currently the Nor’easters number one singles player.

“From what we understand, checking my records, he’s only had two losses in his whole career playing for me,” Newington coach Don Lukowski said. “He’s an exceptional player, very smart player and he’s just done a spectacular job leading the team and playing the position that he has. We’re very proud of him, he’s a very good player.”

Davis, along with Utter, have been on the team since their freshman year and have worked their way up the depth chart through the years.

 “Tim was with [junior varsity] for freshman and sophomore year, then there was COVID and he made varsity this year,” Lukowski said. “He’s done a great job. He’s playing fourth singles for us and he loves the game.”

The journey has been a bit different for Patel and Ofori, who each picked up the game during their sophomore year.

 “I stayed on the team because I met some friends in some classes and also they’re here,” Ofori said. “I also stayed on the team because of the people who graduated in 2019. I played with them and they were very fun. Also the other people here are also very fun. Why not just do it for the rest of my high school career?”

“I just really didn’t know what sport to play and I wanted to give tennis a shot, and it instantly was like ‘I want to be on this team for the rest of my high school career,’” Patel added.

In Ofori’s case, Lukowski noticed a passion for the game before he was even on the roster.

“William is a great kid,” Lukowski said. “I’ll never forget being out here [at the tennis courts], I took a ride by here on a Sunday afternoon and here was William out with a plastic bag full of balls and I was helping him out. We stayed for about an hour and he loved the game.”

That desire translated to success for Ofori as he grabbed his first varsity win on Wednesday.

For Patel, putting in the hard work during practice has paid off as he slots in on the second doubles pair for the Nor’easters.

“He took up the game and we do our best with skills and drills and competition amongst themselves and they like that,” Lukowski said. “He’s really done very, very well for himself.”

The group also shares a fondness for Coach Lukowski, who has been around the Newington boys tennis program for decades.

“He’s a great guy,” Utter said. “He makes it so much fun for us. He puts together so many events and puts so much heart into the events too. It makes it even better to play and win for him too.”

“It’s so good,” Ofori said. “He’s like a dad, that’s my summary.”

Headed by the senior class, the Nor’easter are in the midst of a solid 8-2 season with four matches remaining and look primed to do some damage in the Class L state tournament later this spring.

Newington next travels to Rocky Hill on Monday, May 17 at 3:45 p.m.

Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Newington on Thursday, 13 May 2021 19:38. Updated: Thursday, 13 May 2021 19:40.