Hawks show progress

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Woodland’s Mike Normand returns a shot April 23 versus Kennedy in Beacon Falls. Woodland fell to the Eagles, 5-4. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland’s Mike Normand returns a shot April 23 versus Kennedy in Beacon Falls. Woodland fell to the Eagles, 5-4. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland boys tennis team is starting to show progress.

Despite an 0-8 start, the Hawks have been improving on the hard court and their coach is taking notice.

“The team has been working hard and some of the hard work is starting to pay off,” Woodland head coach Mike Magas said this week.

Magas said the team has been focusing on certain things in practice that appear to be paying off in matches.

“One of the things we’ve been working on is improving our footwork and movement on the court,” Magas said. “We’ve been doing specific drills to focus on this area and we are seeing daily improving which in turn is helping during the matches.”

For example, Mike Roulanaitis won in impressive fashion in the top spot versus Kennedy High School’s Tyler Wrenn on April 23. Roulanaitis won 8-0, while the Hawks lost a 5-4 decision overall.

Roulanaitis has also competed well against some of the league’s best players. He lost a close 8-6 match against Watertown’s Ryan Nolan on Monday.

“Mike Roulanaitis at the number one spot has been a bright start for us as he has compiled a 5-2 record to date,” Magas said. “Mike’s success has been a result of his offseason work and his determination to improve his serve during practice sessions.”

Woodland’s Rayhan Luzeri charges the net to return a shot April 23 versus Kennedy in Beacon Falls. Woodland fell to the Eagles, 5-4. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland’s Rayhan Luzeri charges the net to return a shot April 23 versus Kennedy in Beacon Falls. Woodland fell to the Eagles, 5-4. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Woodland fell to Watertown, 7-2, but there were bright spots.

Against Watertown, Nick Lucas won his first varsity win with a hard fought 9-7 comeback victory. In doubles play, Elif Abedin and Rayhan Luzeri defeated Nate Davino and Matt Beres, 6-0.

In the match against Kennedy last week, Woodland dominated the doubles portion. Roulanaitis and Mike Normand won their match 7-5; James Nelson and Lucas won their match 6-3; and the duo of Arianna Sherwood and Abedin won 6-2.

Woodland fell to Holy Cross, 9-0, on Wednesday. Even in matches that result in a loss, improved play has continued.

“Each and every player is winning more games in their matches and they have been fighting for every point regardless of the score,” Magas said. “One of our main goals was to be playing better by seasons end than we were at the beginning, and we’re starting to see this come to fruition.”

The Hawks will travel to Wilby on Friday. Next week, they are set to host Wolcott on May 4, and visit Torrington on May 6.