Woodland taking nothing for granted

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Woodland junior Mike Roulanaitis is the top seed and captain for the boys tennis team this season. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland junior Mike Roulanaitis is the top seed and captain for the boys tennis team this season. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland boys tennis team is not taking one point for granted.

Head coach Mike Magas is stressing that each serve, backhand and forehand has meaning. The game plan for each team member is simple, take one point at a time and improve each day.

“What I am telling the team is that we are going to go into every match know that we will compete from the first serve to the last,” Magas said. “I stress to them that no matter the score we need to take each match on a point-by-point basis and stay in the moment — not worrying about what happened in the past or what they will do during next point or game.”

Without a senior, the team will be led by juniors and sophomores to carry the load this season.

Mike Roulanaitis, a junior, will be the team’s top seed.

“Mike has a quality game and can hit all the shots on the tennis court,” Magas said. “He was very competitive in matches last year and was our most consistent player.”

Another junior, Mike Normand, has been fine tuning his skills and will likely play in the two or three position.

“Mike is working hard to improve his game,” Magas said of Normand. “He has a good solid shot making ability and more work will help improve all his strokes.”

Chris Pinevich, also a junior, has seen his game progress.

“Chris made big improvements since last year,” Magas said. “Chris needs to be more confident in his play and this will help his growth as a player. His position will be determined by his effort. His growth will determine his playing position.”

Nick Lucas, a junior, had limited playing time this year and will be expected to contribute this season.

“Nick didn’t see much varsity action last year but he will be counted on to make big contributions this season,” Magas said. “He has raw talent and he will need to work hard in practice to elevate his game.”

Sophomore James Nelson has been hard at work and will be in the mix for the No. 2 or No. 3 position.

“James saw a lot of action last season and he is working harder to step up his game this season,” Magas said. “He is working on his competitive side and not being afraid to make mistakes. James has power and strength and with increased confidence his game will blossom.”

The Hawks also have three girls that have joined the team — Rayhan Luzeri, Elif Abedin and Ariana Sherwood.

Rayhan, a junior, is a very competitive player and wants to see much more court time — hence her move to the boys team, Magas said.

“Strength is her consistency and ability to return shots,” Magas said. “The longer she keeps playing the more she will frustrate her opponent and that will help her win many points.”

Magas said Abedin, a sophomore, has a competitive fire in her and a consistent shot making ability. Sherwood will also get ample court time through her hard work in practice.

“Although we don’t have any seniors our approach will not change,” Magas said. “We will try to compete with every team we face and our success will not be determined by our school status but on the way we work in practice and compete during the matches. I want them to take pride in their game and let every moment they are on the court matter.”

The goal is to improve as the season moves along.

“The biggest expectation I have on the team members is to have them playing at a much higher level at the end of the season from where they were at the beginning,” Magas said. “The hard work they put in will be reflected in the wins and losses we put forth in our team record.”

The Hawks are scheduled to open the season Wednesday at home versus Torrington, before visiting Naugatuck on Thursday. Woodland will be back on the court April 15 at Kennedy.