Weston boys tennis establishes SWC supremacy
Updated 2:58 am, Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The Weston boys tennis team had beaten Newtown -- the team it lost to in last year's SWC Championship -- 5-2 in the season opener (in a match that didn't count in the conference standings) at home back on April 6.
A little more than a month later, the Trojans visited their familiar foes again and with both teams having since shuffled their lineups and both unbeaten in conference play, Weston again had something to prove.
The Nighthawks gave the Trojans a good test on Monday afternoon, but Weston may just be proving to be the team to beat in the conference in 2011. Weston prevailed 5-2 again, improving to 10-3 overall (the only three defeats coming to out-of-conference foes.
"If we keep moving through and executing like this I think we are the team to beat," Weston Coach Gary Meunier said.
In singles play, Newtown's No. 1 player, Rob Beier, defeated Weston's Cameron Hagen 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) in a match Newtown Coach Marty Margulies described as the best SWC tennis he's witnessed. Both players had nice setup shots, leading to put-away shots, and kept hard-to-get-to balls in play throughout the match. Beier trailed 3-0 in the second set tiebreaker before prevailing. "It was incredible play on both sides," Margulies said.
"It was a grind. He's a very good player. It was a tight battle. It basically came down to who would break first," said Hagen, adding that something he did well in this match was earn points in long rallies. "It teaches me that I have to get more balls back, and hit everything back I can to keep it alive."
Weston claimed the second through fourth singles matches as follows: No. 2 David Freeman defeated Tyler Ruefenacht, 6-3, 6-4; No. 3 Oscar Morris defeated Cam McCleary, 6-1, 6-4; and No. 4. Jon Lipsitz overcame Ricky Fuentes in a hard-fought three-setter, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.
"I just got into it and fought tough -- and ended up winning. I think I played pretty well and was into every shot. It would be good if I can carry that into other matches," Freeman said.
Morris said he's played with McCleary in USTA tournaments and said it was fun to face someone he knows in a high school match. "In some aspects it's more competitive than it would be if I didn't know him," he said.
In doubles play, the No. 1 spot again proved to be Newtown's strong point as the team of Connor Howell and Sean Elliott pulled out a three-setter over Weston's Josh Weiss and Jack Lawless, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2. At No. 2, Josh Simon and Kyle Guerin defeated Newtown's Adam Oelberg and Yossi Kohrman-Glaser, 6-3, 6-0; and at No. 3. Henry Morris and Ben Lander topped Newtown's Mason West and Charlie Poarch, 6-3, 6-2.
This year's regular season wins over Newtown have been rewarding for the Trojans. "They outworked us last year and that's what we're working on this year," Meunier said.
Meunier is pleased with his team's winning ways but notes that it's a young team with room to get better. Only two seniors were in the lineup in Monday's clash with Newtown and the team doesn't have that one top-notch standout it has had in years past. "There's plenty of room for improvement -- they're young and eager," Meunier said.
"It's coming together for us," Meunier said. "We're beating who we should, and against the best teams in Connecticut we're moderately competitive. We're not quite at our `A' game of tennis yet."
The Trojans fell to unbeaten Staples 7-0 and unbeaten New Canaan 6-1 in a pair of good FCIAC team tests, and came up short 4-3 to Glastonbury in another non-SWC match. You play tougher teams because you want to get tougher and we're getting tougher," Meunier said.
Meunier was pleased his team blanked Joel Barlow, another of the conference's better teams, 7-0 on May 6 -- especially given Barlow's strength at doubles play. "That was a good sign for our doubles teams," said the coach, adding that his doubles lineup has only recently been restructured.
Newtown, 8-2 overall, has suffered only two defeats this spring -- both to the Trojans. Meunier thinks another rematch in this year's SWC tourney is likely. "I'm pretty much expecting to see them again," he said.