Staples spring preview: Boys tennis hopes for FCIAC four-peat
WESTPORT—His Staples High tennis career began in 2014 as a freshman in the No. 5 singles spot, coming away with several key victories to help the Wreckers win their first FCIAC title in more than a decade.
Max Zimmerman now enters his senior year as one of the top two singles players for the Wreckers, and all he’s known is winning. Staples has collected the last three FCIAC titles and two out of the last three Class LL championships in his time with the team, and that isn’t exactly a coincidence.
Zimmerman will play tennis at Hamilton College after what he hopes to be another banner year for the Wreckers, who had a 46-match win streak spanning multiple years end before rebounding to claim the FCIAC and Class LL title. His win over Greenwich’s Eric Toub helped seal the three-peat last season.
“It’s how I want the system to work,” said Staples coach Kris Hrisovulos, whose team enters the year as commanding favorites in the league. “Year in and year out the talent and depth is top notch; guys understand their role when they come in and they put their egos aside. Max is kind of a role model; he’s taken the right steps and does everything; each year he’s gotten better.”
Zimmerman and fellow captain Jay Mudholkar will be counted on to lead a younger group that includes a host of juniors and sophomores. Kion Bruno will be one of the top singles players for the Wreckers while sophomore Jack Tooker played singles for most of last season and will fill a more versatile group.
A pair of transfers may carry the Wreckers over the top in addition to the host of top talent that return from last season. Junior Evan Felcher is one of the top ranked players in New England in his age bracket to form a formidable one-two punch with Zimmerman and sophomore Eric Stein adds depth to the group.
“On paper this could as strong as the 1999 or 2014 teams, which to me are the two best teams in program history,” Hrisovulos said. “If we come together as at team and perform we can be a very special group at the end.”
With the FCIAC switching to the four singles and three doubles matches format from five-and-two, a new wrinkle is introduced this spring. Teams will likely strengthen their doubles lineups in team matches to try to score as many points as possible.
The Wreckers edged rival Greenwich for the FCIAC title last spring before sharing the Class LL title with the Cardinals. The first meeting between the schools this season takes place April 20 in Greenwich; the Wreckers began the season with a 7-0 win April 3 at Trinity Catholic.
“I think we know defending the FCIAC last three years were probably preseason favorites,” Hrisovulos said. “With the new format it should make a lot more competitive; what’s good is that we have a lot of flexibility after our top two. Thankfully we’re blessed that the talent level doesn’t drop off.”