Boys tennis: Trumbull switching things up to meet challenges

Trumbull High is making a variety of adjustments, as the spring season gets rolling.

Not only are the Eagles tinkering with the lineup to find the best doubles combinations and strongest singles lineup, but the players are getting accustomed to the outdoor game after indoor winter play.

“It’s a whole new thing playing out here, especially with the wind,” coach Will Tepen said as his team wrapped up a 5-2 loss to visiting Ridgefield on a chilly afternoon last Thursday.

There were some encouraging signs, including wins at first and second singles, along with a glimpse of what the Eagles are up against as they battle in a tough FCIAC.

“It’s a good wakeup call,” said senior captain and No. 2 singles player George James, who earned a 6-0, 6-1 win over Ridgefield’s Ramiro Davila. “This is first big match we thought we could win. We learned a lot from this, and we’ll grow from here.”

Trumbull defeated Stamford and fell to a tough Darien team, each match ending 6-1, to get the season started.

At first singles, defending Class LL state champion Andrew Ilie posted a 6-4, 6-3 win over Ridgefield’s Brian Song.

“I think he has an excellent chance at that again (winning states),” Tepen said. “He’s got to take it one match at a time. He makes my job easy. He’s wise beyond his years. Very discipline, great to coach.”

Tepin added that James and Ilie are both strong captains on and off the court, and care as much about teammates’ matches as their own.

“He’s very invested in his game,” Tepen said of James, an All FCIAC selection last year.

Freshman Avyay Menon competed at fourth singles and fell 6-3, 6-2 to Ridgefield junior Stephen Chen.

“It’s a great experience for him to get out and play against a strong team like this,” Tepen said.

Sophomore Elliott Bello and sophomore Sai Kolasani combined at third doubles and dropped an 8-2 pro set match once the team outcome was decided.

Sophomore Luke Samoskevich teamed with senior Matthew Nusom at second doubles and lost 6-1, 6-3.

“The more experience they get, the better they get,” Tepen said.

The top doubles team versus Ridgefield was seniors Max Hutchins and Collin McMahon, who fell 6-4, 6-0.

Third singles player Nihal Wadhwa, who lost 6-3, 6-1 is a senior.

Several players in the lineup are new to varsity or playing up a spot from where they have in the past.

“We’re testing our depth which is good to do,” James said.

“We’re definitely on the right track, still figuring some things out. Today was a good test — just our third match,” Tepen pointed out.