Competing against some of the top teams in the state, a young St. Joseph High squad is gaining valuable experience and having some success – both from individual and team standpoints – along the way.
The Cadets defeated two of their first three opponents, topping Trinity Catholic of Stamford and Bridgeport Central each by 7-0 scores.
The team fell to 2-4 overall in a 6-1 loss to visiting Wilton, on Thursday.
Other losses came to Norwalk, Fairfield Warde and Greenwich.
St Joe’s top singles player Drew Morris battled Wilton’s Dylan Koziol in a hard-fought three-setter, winning the first before ultimately falling 6-2, 4-6, 2-6.
“He’s beaten some good players already,” Cadet coach Carlos Jimenez said of Morris, who was unbeaten heading into the match.
Morris is a sophomore, so it can be expected he will be heard from in years to come. The same can be said for much of the Cadet lineup. All four singles players, in fact, are sophomores.
Jon Jazwinski earned the win at second singles, besting Wilton’s Clay Adams, convincingly with scores of 6-0, 6-0.
“Jon’s a good player. Good footwork, good backhand, good movement,” Jimenez said.
Samir Rajani competes at third singles. Rajani lost 6-1, 6-0 to Harrison Tucker.
“Samir is improving and working on a lot of skills, showing improvement with his over-spin shots, movement on the court and footwork, Jimenez said.
Jack Donofrio lost 6-1, 6-1 to Will Jarvie.
Newer to the game of tennis, Donofrio is making quick strides.
“He’s very athletic. He’s improved a lot,” Jimenez said. “He hangs in there.”
Juniors Ethan Ziegler and Ryan Carlin lost their top doubles match by 6-0, 6-2 scores.
The number two tandem of sophomore Joe Harrington and junior Josh Kimball fell 6-0, 6-0.
At third doubles, captain Mark Yacavone (the lone senior on the roster) and freshman Owen Newbauer also lost 6-0, 6-0.
Junior William Manusky and freshmen Kyle Sullivan and Dan Therattil also play doubles for the Cadets.
Having so much youth on the team means there is time to make improvements and adjustments and show progress while continuing high school careers.
“It’s good because you can work with them, they listen. We’re working on things like footwork volleys and serving,” Jimenez said.
With time on the Cadets’ side, they stand to improve.
“We have a good team. By next year we will be really strong,” Jimenez anticipates.