Newtown High School’s girls’ and boys’ tennis teams cruised into South-West Conference tourney action riding waves of momentum. The girls, in fact, went unbeaten in SWC play after blanking Pomperaug of Southbury and Lauralton Hall of Milford each by 7-0 scores, May 10 and 13, respectively.
Last year’s SWC champions were scheduled to close out the regular campaign against SWC foe Weston in a match that wouldn’t count in the conference standings, on May 15. The girls carried a 14-1 overall mark into the season finale, and are the conference’s top team, and Weston was the fourth seed. With the teams scheduled to meet in the SWC semifinals the next day they opted to make the regular-season match the playoff clash. Newtown won 6-1. The match was held at Middlebury Racquet Club because of anticipated rain. With the win, the Nighthawks advanced to the May 20 championship match which they were scheduled to host at 3:30 pm. Newtown was awaiting the winner of the Joel Barlow-Lauralton match.
Newtown expected a bit of a challenge from Lauralton, one of the best teams in the SWC, but cruised to victory with all but one match completed in the minimum two sets. The team’s one through three singles players — Caroline Kelly, Lauren Beier, and Mia Terracino — all won easily, and fourth singles player Aimee Alexander fought for a 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 win over Kara Duggan. In doubles play, the tandems of Stephanie Roman-Julia Frattaroli, Annie Beier-Lauren Frazzetta, and Grace Winans-Meghan Logan all came out on top.
The boys, meanwhile, closed out the regular slate riding a five-match winning streak. Newtown blanked Pomperaug 7-0 on May 10, toppled nonconference foe St Joseph 7-0 on May 13, and beat SWC rival Joel Barlow of Redding 6-1 in a nonconference meeting on May 14.
The Nighthawks enter into postseason play with a 10-1 conference mark, the only setback coming to Weston. Newtown went 13-2 overall. The boys’ tourney was also scheduled to run May 16 and May 20 with the No. 2 Hawks facing a quick rematch with Barlow in the semifinals and anticipating a visit to top-seeded Weston, unless fourth-seeded Pomperaug upsets No. 1 Weston in the other semifinal match.
The boys had to work hard in the deceptive 7-0 win over Pomperaug. No. 4 singles player Ricky Fuentes fought off set points three times in the opening set, and rallied from a 2-5 deficit in the second set, ultimately prevailing 7-5, 7-5. No. 3 player Sean Elliott once again played through a painful mid-match hip injury, but pulled through in a 6-4, 7-5 win. Cam McCleary won with relative ease in the top singles spot. No. 2 player Tyler Ruefenacht fought for a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory.
In doubles play, the top tandem of Nic Klein and Yossi Kohrman-Glaser prevailed 7-6, 7-5. The No. 2 team of Keaton McCleary and Matt Carino won in two sets, as did the third team of Mike Dutsar and Kunal Marwah.
In the win over St Joseph, Cam McCleary overcame a 5-0 first-set deficit to come out on top. Newtown, playing FCIAC rules for this away match, had five singles players and two doubles teams. Ruefenacht, Kohrman-Glaser, and Klein all had singles wins. The doubles victors were Dutsar-Marwah, and West Morlock-Jordan Trager.
Against Barlow, Cam McCleary, Ruefenacht, Fuentes, and Klein all won easily, as did the third doubles team of Dutsar and Marwah. Elliott and Kohrman-Glaser struggled at first doubles but came out on top, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Newtown’s only loss was in a heartbreaker at second doubles.Carino and Keaton McCleary overcame an 0-4 deficit to win the first set 7-5, but dropped the next two by identical 6-4 scores.