Another year older, another year wiser, the Staples High boys tennis team is hungry to reclaim the FCIAC title.
The last decade, the Wreckers have come up just short in the conference, finishing as the runner-up eight of the last 10 years. Greenwich has won the conference 10 of the last 11 years, while New Canaan took the crown in 2010.
"We've got a lot of experience and also a lot of maturity," Staples coach Kris Hrisovulos said. "I think having seen both spectrums of winning and just coming up a little short, (the team's) going to have an itch to get back on top, especially in the FCIAC."
A runner-up in both the conference and states in 2012, Staples returns all but two spots in its lineup. The team's lone senior, Jake Hirschberg, will again fill the No. 1 singles spot after going 9-3 in the conference last season.
"He's trained all year. He can play a big role, especially as a leader," Hrisovulos said. "He's kind of our backbone."
Hirschberg won three matches as the third seed in LL states last year before falling 7-6, 4-6, 0-6 in the quarterfinals to Amity's Jason Seidman, the eventual runner-up.
"Last year I had a pretty strong season. I'd just like to repeat that," Hirschberg said. "There are a lot of strong No. 1 players in the FCIAC. A lot of teams that might not have great records have a lot of No. 1 players."
The Wreckers last won the team title at LL states in 2011. The program's last FCIAC title was shared with Fairfield in 2001.
Staples brings back a solid core that includes juniors Connor Mitnick and Luke Foreman, along with sophomores Josh Moskovitz and Zack Levin. Both Mitnick and Moskovitz advanced to the second round in LL states last season.
"We didn't lose as much as some of the top teams. I think we're going to be right there again," said Hrisovulos, who was still determining each player's order in the lineup on Tuesday.
Staples opens its season against Trinity Catholic on April 3.
Staples graduated its No. 2 singles player, Graham Hyman, (LL states second round in 2012) and two of its top doubles players, Steve Thompson and Evan Davis. Last season, Davis reached the LL doubles final with Reardon and lost 0-6, 0-6 to top-seeded Brandon Pomerance and Miles Singer of Westhill.
Hirschberg said that the team is highly motivated to win a title, especially in the conference.
"Depending on who you ask, it might be more important than states," he said.
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