Boys tennis: 11 titles and counting

Of all the times the Weston High boys tennis team has appeared in the state Class S tournament in recent years this season’s performance ranks among one of coach Gary Meunier’s favorites.

The defending champ Trojans were not the clear favorites to win this year’s competition. That, however, did not matter once they took to the courts last week.

What the Trojans needed was some big performances and got them. Totaling 22 points, they claimed their 11th straight Class S crown on Thursday, June 7, at the Connecticut Tennis Center in West Haven.

East Catholic of Manchester was runner-up again, this time with 19. Granby Memorial took third with 12.

“It was an interesting tournament,” said Meunier, who has coached Weston to eight Class S championships. “They earned every piece of it.”

The Trojans sent three singles players and three doubles team to the tournament. All would make it to at least the third round in their respective brackets with one reaching the finals and winning.

Ranked eighth in the singles competition, Oscar Morris had little difficulty in his first two matches, just missing a sweep in both. Starting the tournament against Sacred Heart’s Nick Yarosis, he gave up a game in the second set before winning 6-0, 6-1.

The set scores were switched in his second-round contest as he defeated Prince Tech’s Miguel Salcedo 6-1, 6-0. It was much tighter match in the third round when Morris faced ninth-ranked Rostyk Datsko of Bolton, featuring two close sets before the former held on 7-5, 6-4.

Morris made it all the way to the quarterfinals, where he met top-seeded Chandler Libby of Granby Memorial. He put up a fight before the eventual champ prevailed 7-5, 6-3.

“Oscar gave Libby a run for the money,” said Meunier. “He was so determined and so focused.”

Ranked sixth in the tournament, Weston’s David Freeman started with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Portland’s Steven Churchill in the first round. He also managed a sweep in the next by beating Classical Magnet’s Austin Bertrand 6-0, 6-0.

Freeman would have an off day in the third round. Despite being the higher seed, he was upset 6-0, 6-4 by 11th-ranked Kyle Peterson of Valley Regional.

“He had trouble breathing,” said Meunier, noting Freeman has asthma. “David did not look like himself.”

Also ranked in the singles bracket, Jon Lipsitz was seeded 10th. He started with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Bolton’s Dan Samson.

Lipsitz had plenty left over for the next round when he defeated Nonnewaug’s Justin Knoblauch 6-1, 6-1. He was poised to upset seventh-seeded Jack Rothman of Old Saybrook in the third round, winning the first set. His opponent would rally in the next, winning a tiebreaker and taking the third to win 4-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2.

At the beginning of the season Meunier noted Weston had no set doubles teams. As time went on some very good ones emerged.

Weston put together some strong ones for the tournament. All three were ranked.

The 12th seed, Henry Morris and Robin Willis just missed a sweep in the opening round as they defeated Coginchaug’s Bill Malcolm and Garrett D’Amato 6-0, 6-1. They proceeded to defeated Granby Memorial’s Matt O’Neill and Devin Smith 6-3, 6-3 in the next contest.

It took fifth-seeded Jack Brotherman and Ellery Rourk of Shepaug Valley to stop them in the third round in a couple of close sets that also featured a tiebreaker at 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.

Ranked third, Jacob Greisman and Ben Smith started by beating Branford’s Joe Parisi and Ryan Dombrowski 6-4, 6-1.

After taking care of Lyman Memorial’s Chris Konow and Ian Montgomery 6-1, 6-2, they had a tough one against 14th-seeded Stephen Pec and Jimmy Tomkins of Woodland. The Weston pair won the first set but lost the second and survived a close third to win 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

For the quarterfinals they defeated Bolton’s Jack Langton and Alex McQuillan 6-1, 7-5. It was nearly an all-Weston doubles final for the first time since 2008 until Greisman and Smith lost a three-setter to second-seeded Andrew Yoder and Javier Moreno East Catholic’s 6-4, 0-6, 2-6.

Weston’s number one singles player since the start of the season, Cameron Hagen would team up with Jack Lawless for the tournament. Despite not having played together they made an effective combination.

Ranked first, Hagen and Lawless got a bye in the first round and won their second match by default. They did not face much competition in the third round with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Old Saybrook’s Nate Backus and Nate Hausman.

Next up were Ben Bosco and James Parla of East Catholic, the eighth seed. They easily handled the competition 6-3. 6-0.

They posted similar scores in their next win, coming 6-0, 6-3 over fourth-seeded Sam Hillenbrand and Billy Whedon of Bolton. Such set up a final match between Yoder and Moreno, who hit a lot of deep lobs and took a 4-1 lead in the first set.

Hagen and Lawless would adjust in time to come back and win the opening set. Meunier noted they made a few errors in the second before losing but played with a lot of confidence in the third, going up 3-1 and 5-2 before closing out the match 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, giving Weston just enough for the title.

“These kids came through,” said Meunier. “It was one of our most comprehensive efforts.”

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