Staples boys tennis wins showdown with Hand
The Staples boys tennis team passed its toughest test of the season on Friday, defeating Daniel Hand 5-2 to move its record to 11-0 on the season.
Hand (6-1), the defending Class L co-champions, also entered the matchup with an unblemished record. The Tigers, also the defending SCC champions, had dropped just two games in all of their matches prior to Friday's showdown.
"I knew it was going to be, across the board, competitive," Wreckers coach Kris Hrisovulos said. "I scheduled this nonconference matchup at the beginning of the season because I knew they were Class L champions and returned a lot of good players. They are one of the top three teams in the state this year."
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The Wreckers prevailed Friday thanks to their own depth. Although the Tigers claimed victories at the No. 1 and No. 3 singles spots, Staples swept the doubles matches and earned a pair of wins at No. 2 and No. 4 singles.
"We wanted to prove we could complete with the best of the best, and I think we did that today," Staples No. 2 Luke Foreman said.
The tide of the match turned during the battle between Foreman and Hand's Alex Rieger. Foreman trailed 5-2 during the first set, but won the next five games to claim victory. Riding that momentum, Foreman cruised to a 6-1 second set victory, which clinched the match at 4-2 for Staples before the final doubles match completed.
"Luke is the heartbeat of this team," Hrisovulos said. "I told him when he was down 5-2 in the first set that he was our heartbeat. ... He was a little down and just quiet. Even if he went down swinging, he has to give us a pulse. He never quits."
Foreman added that experience playing Rieger added to his belief that he could rally.
"I've played him before in tournaments, and I've come back from similar deficits," Foreman said. "We all have to come out with the mindset that no matter how far down you are, you keep fighting and keep your head up, and hold onto the belief that if you make enough balls you can win."
With the match in hand, the Wreckers No. 3 doubles team of Jason Chaskin and Sterling Price defeated Hand's James Cutler and Louis Rogers 7-5, 6-4. The Wreckers also got wins from No. 1 doubles as Josh Moskovitz and Jack Reardon defeated Hand's Andrew Goldfeder and Shayan Roychoudhury 6-0, 6-2, and No. 2 doubles behind Max Zimmerman and Baxter Stein, who defeated Danny Weinreb and Andrew Pace 6-3, 6-4.
"Doubles is coming along well across the board," Hrisovulos said. "They all came out again and just took charge."
Wreckers No. 4 Connor Mitnick cruised to victory, defeating Hand's Kyle Fay 6-2, 6-1. Staples No. 3 Will Andrews fell to Hand's David Schulz 6-3, 6-3.
Staples No. 1 Zack Levin drew a tough assignment in Hand senior Scott Rubinstein. Rubinstein, a class L semifinalist, defeated Levin 6-2, 6-1.
"Zack had a tough match against one of the top kids in the state," Hrisovulos said. "I thought he fought well."
The Wreckers passed one of their toughest tests of the season, and now turn their attention to the stretch run, which begins Monday at Ridgefield.
"We have to stay even keel; nothing was won (today)," Hrisovulos said. "Our main goal is to win two championships this year," referring the FCIAC and Class LL titles.
"Confidence wise, they know where they are at; it's just taking one match at a time."