BEACON FALLS — They’re still undefeated. Barely.
The Woodland boys tennis team kept its perfect record alive last week with some of its toughest tests of the season, including a pair of 5-4 wins against Torrington and Sacred Heart before walking over Wolcott and Watertown, 7-2, on Friday and Monday.
Mike Krakowski, the team’s lone senior and top singles player, has been the driving force for the Hawks so far and helped Woodland (15-0) gain two more important victories over the Eagles and Indians.
Krakowski beat Wolcott ace Jon Ramirez, 8-4, on Friday before dismissing Watertown No. 1 Connor Fenn, 8-3. Krakowski also contributed a doubles point at Wolcott as he teamed with Matt Murphy to take down Ramirez and Mario Zizolli, 8-1.
The Hawks’ 7-2 wins over Wolcott and Watertown look easier than their 5-4 victories over Torrington and Sacred Heart last week, but Krakowski didn’t think his team was in as much jeopardy as the one-point wins would suggest.
“Torrington always has a good team,” Krakowski said. “All of their players play great tennis, so we knew they would be a tough opponent. I feel there were some matches that we should have won that day, but you win some and you lose some. I’m just glad we came out on top.”
“When we played Sacred Heart, we had earned the win with five singles victories,” Krakowski continued. “This allowed our coach [Jim Amato] to put less experienced players into the doubles matches. We did not win any doubles matches, but it provided these young players with essential experience that will help in future matches and seasons.”
Krakowski has been joined in singles action by Murphy, Pat Dietz, Kyle Beynor, Stephen Pec, and Jimmy Tompkins. All of the singles players have met considerable success throughout the season and they swept their matches against Watertown on Monday.
The doubles matches have been spots for improvement for Woodland as Amato is often able to plug in players who need match experience because those points don’t affect the total match outcome due to singles dominance.
Players including Nick Boccuzzi, Mike Patsiarikas, Mike Ventimiglia, Chris Zmuda, Mike Costa, and Nick Rioux have all contributed wins in doubles matches.
Krakowski is most pleased with the completeness of the team’s roster from top to bottom and attributes that depth to preseason work and training.
“I feel that the training that we had done in the beginning of the season gave us the advantage this year,” Krakowski said. “Also, our team has a lot of depth, so if one person is unable to compete there is someone who can step up and get the win.”
Woodland was set to close this week against Crosby on Wednesday and Wolcott on Thursday before hosting two matches against Sacred Heart on Monday and Holy Cross on Wednesday to close out the regular season.
The Hawks will look to sew up their first-ever Naugatuck Valley League Brass Division championship with a win over the Eagles on Thursday and will be striving for even more during this month’s NVL tournament.
Krakowski said while the championships and undefeated record are goals that the team would like to meet, the Hawks aren’t looking ahead.
“Our team motto is, ‘expect nothing, earn everything,’” Krakowski said. “So, I won’t say that this goal [of going undefeated] is not in the back our minds, but our team takes it one match at a time. We must not forget the present, because the work put forth now will allow us to reach our goals.”