2012 spring previews / boys' and girls' tennis

East Lyme's Andy King, the 2010 ECC singles champion, is back to lead the Vikings in 2012.
East Lyme's Andy King, the 2010 ECC singles champion, is back to lead the Vikings in 2012. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo

BOYS

ECC LARGE

EAST LYME

Coach: Susan Welshock (5th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Andy King, Sr. David Beaulieu, Sr. Nathan Zhao, Sr. Gowtham Yenduri, Sr. Nathan Aleo, So. Unni Kurumbail, So. Matthew Lin.

Top newcomers: Suryansh Patel, Nicholas Hotary, Nipun Hewage, Sujay Alavala, Shahan Kamal, Robert Alden, Daniel Rose, Jay Alpert.

Outlook: King, the 2011 ECC singles champion, returns to lead a talented East Lyme cast that is the favorite to defend its ECC Large title. The Vikings went 8-0 in the division and 13-1 overall, their only loss a 4-3 decision to Small champion Stonington. "We are lucky to have a lot of the top ECC players return for another exciting season of tennis," Welshock said.

FITCH

Coach: Bob Congdon (33rd year)

Key returnees: Sr. Nick Bonnassieux, Sr. Joe Grant, Sr. Ryan Halperin, Sr. Doug Singer, Sr. Brandyn Young, Jr. Stefan Jones, Jr. Srini Srirangam.

Top newcomers: Sr. Niral Patel, Jr. Pete Houser, So. Jesse Moroyoqui, Fr. Will Baldwin, Fr. Jacob Kowalski.

Outlook: The Falcons must replace No. 1 singles player Toby Edovas from a 10-6 team a year ago, but Congdon has such an experienced senior class he expects Fitch to have another winning season and perhaps put a scare into East Lyme.

NEW LONDON

Coach: David Gruber (1st season)

Top returnees: Sr. Greg Bryan, Sr. Jordan Coons, Sr. Kyle Russell, Sr. Nick Rose, Jr. Harry Cruz, Sr. Carlos Leon.

Top newcomers: Fr. Kush Kumar, Jr. John Peralta, Jr. Hector Lucena, Jr. Miguel Martinez, Jr. Kelsey Doyon, Jr. Brandon Meyer, So. Jan Carlos Santana, So. Keith Verdini, Sr. Brian Martinez.

Outlook: The Whalers are coming off a winning season (8-7) and Gruber takes over a team that has some experienced singles players, but must build three new doubles teams. Gruber considers this a rebuilding year, but New London does have some talent and he loves the enthusiasm of his team.

ECC MEDIUM

BACON ACADEMY

Coach: Sarah Van Dyke-Ewan (1st year)

Key returnees: Sr. Dan Belch-Emory, Sr. Zach Guarino, Jr. Kenneth Spranzo, Jr. Jack Speer, Sr. Andrew Lukaszewski.

Top newcomers: Fr. Ethan Reever, Sr. Joel Tasker, So. Marcel Wright.

Outlook: Van Dyke, who coached the Ledyard girls from 2003-08, takes over at Bacon and must replace the program's top player from a year ago, All-ECC and All-Area singles player Zach Bussiere. The Bobcats, who also moved up from the Medium to Large Division, don't have great depth, but Van Dyke likes her singles lineup and is trying to build doubles teams behind the No. 1 duo of Belch-Emory and Guarino.

LEDYARD

Coach: Jason Bazinet (8th season)

Key returnees: So. Eric Sun, So. Albert Miller, Jr. Brian Healy, Jr. Weston Blake, Jr. Jason Smith, Jr. Anuj Desai, Sr. James Cusmano.

Top newcomers: Fr. Ben Mchale, Fr. Jake Skilbred, So. Zach Higgins, So. Alex Scholz, Sr. Conor Massie.

Outlook: The Colonels are looking to improve their record from last year, relying on a combination of youth and veterans.

STONINGTON

Coach: Jennifer Adriano (3rd season)

Key returnees: Casey Sartor, John Skogerboe, Jon Hayes

Top newcomers: Jamie Mackillop, Doug Schweid, Chris Manfredi, Austin Almeida, Avery Oefinger, Jacob Aubrecht, Anthony Gallicchio.

Outlook: The Bears moved up to the Medium Division after being the class of the Small Division for years, but are forced to rebuild after losing All-ECC performers Devin White, Daniel Banker and Colin Melford. Adriano has only three varsity players returning.

WATERFORD

Coach: Ralph DiSaia (10th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Dana Aing, So. Shushwat Kala, Jr. Matt Getty, So. Alan Luner, Jr. Brett Pias, Jr. Tucker Murphy.

Top newcomer: Sam Herbert.

Outlook: The Lancers graduated six starters and move down to the Medium Division, where they already own a win over Stonington in what should be a very competitive division. DiSaia has some talented underclassmen that will play major roles in singles and doubles and Aing provides experience and leadership at No. 1 singles.

ECC SMALL

GRISWOLD

Coach: Elyse McAteer (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. Zachary Rice, Jr. Reuben Garcia, Jr. Jacob Nelson, So. Frank Rivera, So. Jordan Bradeen.

Top newcomers: Sr. Willem Dorff, Sr. Ardian Ferraj, Sr. Kevin Laraia, So. Brandon Wilson.

Outlook: The Wolverines lost three-time ECC singles champ Brandon Roode to graduation, but McAteer does have plenty of experience returning and expects an athletic group of newcomers to bring "fresh energy" to the program.

LYMAN MEMORIAL

Coach: Adam Reynolds (2nd year)

Key returnees: Sr. Ben Swinehart, Sr. Eric McGee, Sr. Tim Hennessey, Jr. Kyle Barrett.

Top newcomers: So. Mason Madison, Fr. Parker Skaats, Jr. Ajay Gonnelli, So. Chris Konow, So. Ian Montgomery, So. Tony Kuang.

Outlook: The Bulldogs were 13-4 a year ago, but must replace 10 seniors, including their top two singles players and top two doubles teams. Swinhart and McGee step into the top two singles spots for Reynolds while newcomer Madison will play No. 3 singles and freshman Skaats will play varsity doubles. Lyman's new players must grow up quickly in order for the Bulldogs to be competitive in the division.

MONTVILLE

Coach: Meg Funk (1st season)

Key returnees: Sean Rahusen, Corey Lorraine, Nick Namin, Branden Marino, Matt Clark, Shawn Strouse, Samson Zhuang.

Top newcomers: Jack Greenwood, Eric Sloane, Justin Santacroce, Jared Varney, Matt Vela, Keith Danielson.

Outlook: Funk, a former ECC girls' singles champion, joins the coaching ranks for the first time. She takes over a team that was winless a year ago, but has good numbers and expects to make the Indians more competitive this season, especially since Montville drops from the Medium to the Small Division.

ST. BERNARD

Coach: Tim Kolnaski (1st season)

Key returnees: Sr. Matt Suprenant, Sr. Andy Hamel, So. Chris Renaud, Kevin Peters, Adam Howard, So. Zach Kuvalanka, Jr. Luca Fan.

Top newcomers: Fr. Nicholas Zuczek, John Markham, Kevin Teskey.

Outlook: Kolnaski takes over the Saints and will rely on his seniors to provide the leadership to some young, but talented newcomers. Renaud and Zuczek begin the season as the Nos. 1 and 2 singles team, respectively. The Saints should be a factor in the Small Division race.

OTHERS

WILLIAMS

Coach: Jill Corr (8th season)

Key returnees: Adam Verhoeff, Sam Buffum.

Top newcomer: Jon Powell.

Outlook: This will be another great year for the Blues, according to Corr. Some of the program's top players return and the addition of promising newcomers will help.

GIRLS

ECC LARGE

EAST LYME

Coach: Laurie Privett (7th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Liz Miller, Sr. Sagune Sakya, Sr. Samantha Hart, Jr. Joan Li, Jr. Caroline Costa, Jr. Priti Vage.

Top newcomers: Fr. Sophie Shi, Fr. Sherry Yang, Fr. Melinda Yi, Fr. Katherine Wu.

Outlook: Li, an ECC all-star, anchors the team at No. 1 singles and Miller moves from singles to doubles. The Vikings anticipate the combination of a strong group of underclassmen and talented freshmen will make for a successful season.

FITCH

Coach: Todd Higgins (13th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Maura Brown, Sr. Alison Nowak, Jr. Alyssa Denno, Jr. Haley Savona, Jr. Corey St. Louis, Sr. Elizabeth Osborn, Sr. Aileene Duyan, So. Emma Nelson, Jr. Aimee Filippetti, Sr. Amy Hernandez.

Top newcomers: So. Jingxuan Huang, Fr. Diana Francis, So. Lisa Chan, So. Karen Chen.

Outlook: Higgins believes the Falcons will be competitive in the Large Division. Fitch has plenty of experience in both singles and doubles, and Higgins expect some of his young players to challenge for varsity spots.

NEW LONDON

Coach: Leah Ward (20th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Khushbu Pandya, Jr. Tathiana Jean-Baptiste, Sr. Sara Blette, Jr. Hira Afzall.

Top newcomers: Sr. Carine Jacque, Fr. Lillian James.

Outlook: The Whalers, who took a step forward a year ago by winning three matches, will be challenged after moving up to the Large Division. Ward said her team took advantage of the warm early spring weather to improve and she expects Jacque and James to challenge for varsity spots.

NFA

Coach: Christine Toth (5th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Kristie Andersen, Jr. Kirsten Wesolek, Jr. Sarah Slocum, Jr. Angela Alcade-Flores, JR. Jillian Stevenson.

Top newcomers: Jr. Haley Riley, Jr. Emily Coon, Jr. Courtney Majcher, Sr. Samantha Majcher, So. Victoria Majcher, Sr. Shayla Johnson.

Outlook: Anderson will lead the Wildcats at the No. 1 singles spot while Alcade-Flores and Stevenson also will help anchor the singles. Toth looks forward to continued growth and a successful season in the ECC Large.

ECC MEDIUM

LEDYARD

Coach: Scott Woodruff (4th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Addy Jakuba, Sr. Callie Bateman, Sr. K.C. Wilson, Jr. Madi Black, Sr. Danielle Giggi, Sr. Kaitlyn Turner.

Outlook: Despite losing two of their four singles players to graduation, No. 1 singles player Jakuba returns for the Colonels while Bateman slides into the No. 2 spot followed by Wilson and Blask. Woodruff believes Ledyard has enough depth to be competitive in the division.

STONINGTON

Coach: George Crouse (24th season)

Key returnees: Jr. Anika Burgess, Jr. Chloe Slater, Sr. Abby Volk, Sr. Lauren Valenti, Jr. Emily Buxton, Jr. Molly Kam, Jr. Hanah Fabianski, Jr. Meg Rolfe, Jr. Emily Gardiner.

Top newcomers: Fr. Caroline Kam, Sr. Macy Wilcox Tillet, Jr. Lindsey Gimple, Jr. Tessa Colby, Jr. Liza Robinson, Jr. Lucy Schlink, Fr. Gina Feliciano, Fr. Taylor Startz, Fr. Morgan Parilla, Fr. Jen Carroll.

Outlook: ECC singles champ Emily Burgess is gone, but her younger sister Anika, who lost to Emily in the the 2011 final, assumes the No. 1 spot. Slater, Molly Kam and Caroline Kam begin the season as the top four singles players. The Bears move up to the Medium Division, but will be the team to beat again. Stonington has been to six straight Class S state finals, losing the last five times to Weston, and the Bears have the ability to go deep into the state tournament again.

WATERFORD

Coach: Larry Potter (10th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Evelyn Luner, Sr. Casey Corrado, Sr. Katie Hudson.

Top newcomers: Fr. Lauren Rahr, Fr. Nisha Rajamohan, Fr. Jessie Hudson, Fr. Katie Lewis.

Outlook: The Lancers have holes to fill after graduating seven of their top 10 players from a team that went 14-3. A mixture of solid returning players and promising freshmen will anchor the team.

ECC SMALL

GRISWOLD

Coach: Daryl Schlender (2nd season)

Key returnees: Sr. Fabjola Qosja, Jr. Madison Ahern, Jr. Karyn Walsh, Jr. Ryanne Simpson, Jr. Taylor Chafee, Jr. Amber Gaffney, Jr. Kaitlin Topper, So. Klejdja Qosja, So. Harleyann Hall, So. Monique Maynard, So. Angeli St. Lot, So. Jessica Williams, So. Alexis Rickey, So. Gabrielle Thomas.

Top newcomers: Fr. Tia Avery, Fr. Brittany Ellis, Fr. Marissa Morales, Fr. Doris Lee Tanquay, Fr. Jazmin Fiqueroa, Fr. Alexandra Kral, Fr. Arielle Moffit, Fr. Haley Sherman, Fr. Lindsay Merry.

Outlook: Griswold graduated most of its varsity team, leaving behind a young but promising group to play in the Small Division.

MONTVILLE

Coach: Ted LaFemina (3rd year)

Key returnees: Sr. Anne Jeon, So. Martha Mena, Sr. Tiffany Young, Sr. Elise Couillard.

Top newcomers: Jr. Lexy Severino, Fr. Jennifer Hester, Fr. Mia Ferguson, Fr. Emily Dodson, Fr. Helena Sun.

Outlook: The Indians were decimated by graduation, losing all four singles players and two of its three doubles teams. LaFemina will rely on seniors Jeon, Young and Couillard to provide leadership and he is excited about the early development of his new varsity players.

ST. BERNARD

Coach: Jennifer Feldman (8th season)

Key returnees: Sr. Susan Kusmierski, Sr. Mackenzie Gagne, Sr. Jacqueline Csisar, Sr. Jessica Hester, Sr. Shannen Haraghey, Jr. Emily Patten.

Top newcomers: So. Alexa Massad, So. Morgan Gagne, Fr. Kathryn McKinley, Jr. Morgan Savino, Jr. Grace Kirkpatrick, Fr. Andrea He, Jr. Julia Scott.

Outlook: Feldman returns after a one-year absence and sees the Saints in a bit of a rebuilding mode this season. Numbers aren't a problem, however, and Feldman expects St. Bernard to be competitive in the division with a nice blend of youth and experience.

OTHERS

NORWICH TECH

Coach: Emily Hayes (2nd season)

Key returnees: Gabrielle Tudisca, Lauren Gagnon, Marleni Tubercio, Morgan Deschamps, Samantha Willey, Gabrielle Howlett, Victoria Elwell.

Top newcomers: Sr. Samantha Fannon, Jr. Ashley Ziroili, Jr. Desiree Peppin, Jr. Kayla Moran.

Outlook: Tudisca returns to anchor the team at No. 1 singles while Deschamps and Willey will play at No. 1 doubles. Gagnon and Tuberico also play singles.

OLD SAYBROOK

Coach: Ruthanne Rothman (4th season)

Key returnees: Jr. Alex Steward, Jr. Daniela Palomeque, Jr. Christie DeAntonis, So. Myeerah Zhang.

Top newcomers: Fr. Katie Costa, Fr. Amanda Lee.

Outlook: It will be difficult for the Rams to defend their Shoreline Conference co-championship after losing seven of 10 varsity players, but Rothman can't wait to develop a talented freshman class and will rely on Steward and Zhang as the top two singles players.

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