Balanced Trojans win 10th straight Class S tennis title
Call the Class S boys tennis tournament the Weston Invitational.
That's because the Weston boys tennis team owns Class S and won its 10th straight Class S title with 19 points in the tournament which began June 2 and ended Wednesday. Weston won states despite having no singles player reach the semifinals and no doubles tandem qualify for the finals. East Catholic (16 points) took second.
"This is a fun team," Trojans Coach Gary Meunier said. "We knew this wasn't going to be easy and it would be a close call. We weren't sure if we'd go three singles and three doubles or four singles and two doubles."
In the end, Meunier decided to go with four singles and two doubles, even using players who didn't figure prominently in the regular lineup for most of the year.
"We knew we had the depth," Meunier said. "The whole thing was a process with all the pieces coming together. This is an enormous accomplishment. I'm tired of [we only won] Class S. We can't help what class we're in and we're blessed with great talent. It was a team effort and everyone took care of their own business."
Two Weston singles players reached the quarterfinals, which gave the team eight points. Junior captain Cam Hagen defeated Morgan's Mike Ierardi, 6-1, 6-1 in the first round and followed by bageling Lyman Memorial's Ron Davis in the second round, 6-0, 6-0. The fourth-seeded Hagan then survived a tough set in the first set before winning convincingly in the second set in a 7-5, 6-1 triumph over Canton's Peter Jutras in the third round. He lost to fourth-seeded sixth-seeded and eventual runner-up Morgan White of Old Lyme in the quarterfinals, 6-1, 6-2.
"It was definitely hard work," Hagan said. "I tried to play smart. Unfortunately, I was sick in my last match. It may have been a factor but my opponent was good and deserved to win."
Sophomore David Freeman was the fifth-seed and opened up by bageling Portland's Tim Salecky. Freeman then defeated Old Lyme's Taavi Kaiv-Haus 6-2, 6-0 in the second round and came back from a first-set loss in the third round against the 12th-seeded Rostyk Datsko of Bolton, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
The run ended for Freeman with a 6-2, 6-1 loss to East Catholic's Chris Waung in the quarterfinals.
"Even though I didn't make it to the semifinals and get All-State, the team won, which is what really counts," Freeman said. "I had to be consistent against the guys I played and forced them to make mistakes."
Freeman knows what it feels like to be an All-Stater, which he experienced last year when he won Class S in doubles with Hagan.
"Last year was easier because I had a partner to talk to but I was able to persevere and pull through," Freeman said.
Senior Nick Richter didn't play in the SWC championship but came through in doubles as the fourth-seeded doubles team with freshman Jack Lawless. Richter and Lawless had a first-round bye and almost bageled their first opponent in a 6-0, 6-1 win, and served bagels in the third round.
This earned them a quarterfinal match where Richter and Lawless defeated Valley Regional's Nicholas Filippides and Michael McKay, 6-2, 6-2. Richter and Lawless saw their run end with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) to the top seed and eventual champion, Nick Pelligrino Joey Strafaci of St. Bernard,6-2, 7-6 (7-3) in the semifinals.
Seniors Josh Simon and Kyle Guerin was the team's other doubles tandem and was seeded third. Simon and Guerin had a first round bye and won their first match in straight sets before losing a hree-setter to 14th-seeded Greg Tischofer and Justin Danielwicz of Portland, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4) in the third round.
Trojan freshman Oscar Morris was the ninth-seed and won two matches in straight sets before losing in the third round.
Weston sophomore Jon Lipsitz bageled his first opponent but lost a three-setter in the second round, 6-1, 0-6, 6-3.
"Obviously, we were very excited," Hagen said. "We knew it would be difficult because we didn't have a superstar on our team and knew it would be a team effort."