Spring preview: Staples tennis rides 2-year unbeaten streak
WESTPORT—With a 116-6 record in six years as the Staples boys tennis coach, Kris Hrisovulos hasn’t experienced defeat too many times.
The Wreckers haven’t lost at all in the past two years.
With back-to-back undefeated seasons and consecutive FCIAC championships in the back pocket, Staples will look to extend its unbeaten match winning streak from 42 games when the season begins Tuesday against Weston.
“It shows we’ve had an outstanding program for the past few years,” said senior captain Will Andrews. “Ever since Kris has come in the team has been exceptional. Even the years they didn’t go undefeated, it’s been only one or two losses here or there. I think a school like Staples in a town like Westport will always have a great team, but we’ve had a special group the last few years.”
The school record sits at 82; Hrisovulos was a part of the first 52 of those victories as a player.
“As a player going through that was unique, something you never fathom would happen playing in the FCIAC,” Hrisovulos said. “It’s a testament to how the kids prepare and believe in the team concept.”
Despite the perfect record in 2015, there’s one piece of unfinished business left for the Wreckers. With the Class LL tournament being an individual competition, Staples took second a year ago to Amity.
The streak will be severely tested May 3 when the Wreckers visit New Canaan. The Rams pushed Staples to the brink in a 4-3 decision last season and return all of key contributors, according to Hrisovulos. Staples hosts Greenwich April 18 and Hrisovulos added that the rest of the top teams in the league have improved since last season.
“It’s definitely pressure for us, there are a few teams that will give us a challenge,” said senior Brenden Price. “New Canaan will be a tough matchup, Greenwich obviously because they are our rivals.”
Andrews will man the No. 1 spot in the lineup after reaching the Class LL quarterfinals last season. He missed his freshman season due to injury but has been a vital component of a pair of perfect seasons.
“He’s been such a class act and is a well-rounded tennis player,” Hrisovulos said. “He’s ready to take on the No. 1 role. He has the skill and the talent; he’s definitely one of the top five players in the state and comes with a lot of experience.”
“He has grown and matured, he’s worked on the physical side of his game by hitting the gym a lot,” Hrisovulos said. “It will be fun to watch, he’s grown as a tennis player and I think he’s ready to play at No. 2.”
Sophomore Kion Bruno will be part of the singles group while Price will be the leader of the doubles side.
What has always separated Staples from the opposition is the unrivaled depth, something that will once again appear in 2016. Hrisovulos said many of his players share a similar skill level.
“(Players) Three-through-12 are pretty even, which reminds me of my first few years here,” Hrisovulos said. “I have a lot of options and as a coach I like that more than a clear-cut lineup because it keeps the guys a little more competitive and working hard.”