Newtown High School’s boys’ tennis team nearly shocked the host Weston Trojans in the May 20 South-West Conference championship match. The second-seeded Nighthawks fell 4-3 to the No. 1 Trojans in a match that left the Nighthawks feeling proud yet frustrated at the same time.
“Of course It’s disappointing — heartbreaking, even — to lose so important a match by such a close score. But there were bright spots,” Newtown Coach Marty Margulies said.
“We put up much more of a fight than anyone, except us, had anticipated against a team that had beaten us pretty decisively in two regular-season matches. And everyone played well, especially Cam McCleary and Tyler Ruefenacht, who reversed earlier losses against Weston’s top two players,” said Margulies, adding that Sean Elliott and Ricky Fuentes joined forces to easily defeat the conference’s best first doubles team, and freshman Matt Carino put a scare into a difficult and dangerous opponent at fourth singles before falling short.
McCleary took down Weston’s top singles player, Oscar Morris, 6-4, 6-2. Ruefenacht overcame a first-game loss to prevail over David Friedman 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Weston’s Jon Lipsitz defeated Keaton McCleary 6-0, 6-1 at third singles, and Jack Lawless beat Carino 6-3, 6-1 in the other singles match.
Elliott and Fuentes defeated Henry Morris and Greg Portner 6-2, 6-3. In second doubles play, Weston’s Ben Lander and Eric Nalbandian overcame Yossi Kohrman-Glaser and Nic Klein 6-4, 6-1. At third doubles, Weston’s Jordan Suss and Ishan Mirchandani defeated Kunal Marwah and Mike Dutsar 6-4, 6-4.
Newtown suffered only two matches during the regular campaign, both at the hands of the Trojans.
“After losing those two regular-season matches by identical 5-2 scores, we tried to close the gap by concentrating more of our strength in the doubles,” said Margulies, who moved Fuentes and Kohrman-Glaser out of singles roles after they earned wins in the SWC semifinals.
“It almost worked — in fact, did work, in that it kept us in the match till the very end,” Margulies said. “The boys should be proud of themselves.”
The Hawks defeated third-seeded Joel Barlow of Redding 5-2 on May 16 to advance to the finals.
Newtown got wins from all four singles players: Cam McCleary, Ruefenacht, Fuentes, and Kohrman-Glaser. The third doubles team of Marwah and Dutsar also came out on top.
The season’s not over yet. Newtown, after participating in the conference’s individual tourney May 22 and 23 at Monroe’s Wolfe Park, will compete in the state tournament.