Hawks find their groove

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland boys tennis team had a four-match win streak snapped on Monday.

Despite the 9-0 loss to Holy Cross, the Hawks have already surpassed last year’s win total.

The Hawks opened the season with close losses to Naugy and Sacred Heart, then won four in a row with victories over Wilby (7-2), Kaynor Tech (4-3) and back-to-back 8-1 wins over Kennedy.

Woodland bounced back from Monday’s loss by sweeping Wilby, 9-0, on Wednesday.

With an influx of young talent, and increased repetitions with nicer weather settling in, the Hawks (5-3) found a groove. Players are also getting comfortable with lineup positions.

“We found some continuity, and being out there longer has helped a lot,” Woodland boys head coach Charles Ostrander said.

Three freshmen — Josh Powanda, Nick Hudson and Richie Weishner — were placed into higher seeds temporarily, and did well. Powanda moved up to No. 4, Hudson to No. 5 and Weishner to No. 6.

“Josh lost his first match of the season against Holy Cross on Monday, Nick has had to go against some formidable players and Richie has been in every match,” Ostrander said.

The freshmen were given the opportunity to step up because James Nelson, the team’s No. 2, has missed some time. Nelson returned to the lineup against Kaynor Tech and won three straight matches.

The Hawks have also benefited from the consistency of one of the NVL’s top players, Mike Roulanaitis, who started the season winning six of his first seven matches.

In doubles play, Ostrander has mixed younger and older players. Roulanaitis, a senior, teamed with Powanda to win over Kennedy’s top seeded doubles team on April 20. In that same match, senior Chris Pinevich paired with Hudson and they won by forfeit.

“We’ve been working hard in doubles and it’s paying off,” Ostrander said.

With an over .500 record in the final week of April, the Hawks are showing continued progress.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way we’re playing right now,” Ostrander said. “We have an awesome group of kids and it makes coaching a lot easier.”

Ostrander isn’t the only one noticing Woodland’s improved play.

“We hear other teams telling us how much we’ve improved,” Ostrander said. “And that’s a testament to the kids.”

Woodland will host Wolcott on Friday and Torrington May 2.

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