Winners of four straight state titles and eight consecutive SWC championships, the Weston boys tennis team’s lineup has undergone quite a transformation this spring, due to the graduation of five all-conference players from its 2018 squad.
Yet the Trojans certainly aren’t in a rebuilding mode.
“I wouldn’t call it rebuilding, it’s more like reloading,” Weston coach Gary Meunier said. “It’s been next man up for us and it’s time for our returning players to step up. They had the luxury of playing on a team with some very good players the past two years and we had the luxury of having the same singles lineup the past three years. This year, we had had to earn every point in every match and our players are getting better by the day.”
The results have shown the new-look Weston squad is improving. Through its first 12 matches, the Trojans sport a solid 9-3 mark, their losses coming against Wilton, New Canaan and SWC rival Joel Barlow (a 4-3 defeat, their first SWC loss of the season).
“One thing about our players is that they are not afraid to get beat,” Meunier said. “You can learn from losses as well as wins and we really want to be challenged. If our guys don’t succeed, it doesn’t take them long to move on to the next match. We know in the long run, we’ll benefit from a good schedule. We’re never going to shy away from playing tough teams.”
Junior Grady Tarzian has stepped into the No. 1 singles spot for Weston — a role All-State/All-SWC selection Sebastian Casellas successfully filled in previous seasons. Tarzian played third singles last spring.
“It’s not easy playing number one, but Grady is doing a good job,” Meunier said. “He plays the part, he looks the part and he’s really been stepping up for us.”
Meunier is especially impressed with the poise and consistency Tarzian has displayed each match.
“There is a lot of pressure and responsibility playing at No. 1,” Meunier said. “I know what he faces every day, he never gets a day off, because every team has a strong No. 1 player. His demeanor and focus on the court has been great.”
Senior Nicholas Moy has taken over the second singles spot, which all-conference, all-state team selection Matthew Sydney held in 2018. Moy has won the majority of his matches at No. 2, as has senior Cameron Weiller at No. 3. Junior Mason Asphar has seen a lot of time at the fourth singles spot.
“Our singles lineup — I’m not worried about who we are penciling in every day,” Meunier said. “Right now, we are working on our doubles combinations and trying to indentify our strengths and areas we need to improve upon.”
Freshman Harrison Moy and senior Adrik Scaramuzza have made their mark at first doubles for the Trojans, who saw all-state/all-conference selections Steven Dampf and Reid Brostoff excel at the spot in 2018.
Stephen Blinder, a 2018 Weston graduate, who was one of the squad’s All-SWC Team honorees last season, is serving as an assistant coach, much to the delight of Meunier and the team.
“He (Blinder) has been invaluable in getting them to understand the core values of the program,” Meunier said. “I couldn’t ask for a better person to help us. He is taking a gap year from college and when the kids found out, they asked me if Stephen can help out.”
Weston faces powerhouse Staples on May 8, Fairfield Prep (May 14), then begins action in the SWC Tournament on May 16. The Class M Tournament commences on May 24.
“Our goals have not changed,” Meunier said. “We are not conceding the SWC title without a fight and we are going into the Class M Tournament looking to take the title home again.”
As its recent upset win against Greenwich indicated, Westhill’s girls squad has emerged as a contender. The Vikings registered a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals last week, marking the first time they beat Greenwich in over two decades.
Currently, Westhill has a record of 8-3, with its losses coming against Staples, Wilton and Fairfield Ludlowe.
Against Greenwich, Tamar Bellette, Martina Kaba, Sanjana Nayak and Jacqueline Kaba each won their singles matches for Westhill at the first to fourth spots, respectively.
BRUNSWICK SCHOOL DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR ITS FOES
Brunswick won the NEMA George C. Shafer Doubles Invitational at Episcopal Academy in Pennsylvania on Sunday. The Bruins collected 26.5 team points to win the two-day, 14-team tournament.
Brunswick’s first and second doubles teams each won their flight titles. The Bruin’s No. 4 squad placed second and its third team finished third.
Ben Powis and Evan Lee won the No. 1 doubles flight title, going 4-0 and defeated Gilman School in the final, 6-2, 6-2. The No. 2 duo of Ryan Glanville/Aidan Reilly won all four of their matches, including a 6-2, 6-2 win over Gilman in the title match.
Edward Nagler/Lorenzo Gunningham were third in the No. 3 flight, going 3-1, while Christian Hartch/Alex Penn were 3-1, en route to placing second in the No. 4 flight.