Monomoy Boys Tennis Upends Nantucket For Third Straight Win

by Brad Joyal

HARWICH – The Monomoy boys tennis team is hitting its stride at the perfect time.

After opening its season with a 3-2 loss at Nantucket on April 1, the Sharks got their revenge Monday when they earned a 3-2 victory over the Whalers at Brooks Park.

Junior Ryan Casey sealed the win with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Boyan Kalpazanov in their first singles match after Monomoy eighth-grader Roman Pavluchenko won his third singles match and seniors Paul Carlson and Connor Francis took first doubles.

The win marked three straight wins for the Sharks (10-6), who were ranked No. 13 in the MIAA Division 4 Power Rankings released Friday.

“I’m very pleased,” Monomoy coach Reuben Bowman said. “We’re getting stronger everyday, we’re noticing them improve and we’re ending the season on a really high note. As we go into the tournament next week, I really hope that we keep it going and go as far as he can.”

Pavluchenko opened the match with a quick 6-0, 6-1 victory over Nantucket’s Henry Kathawala before Carlson and Francis defeated Hawkin Edwardes and Soren Edwards, 6-1, 6-4.

“It’s a big morale boost because first doubles hasn’t had a win in a while,” said Carlson, a Chatham resident who is playing his first season of high school tennis.

The first doubles victory proved crucial after senior Gavin McDonnell suffered a 6-3, 6-1 loss to Nik Krastev in second singles and Monomoy’s second doubles pairing of junior Blake Noonan and sophomore Ethan Seufert fell to Nantucket’s Fuller Holland and Sam Iller, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.

While each of the Sharks winners stood out, Casey demonstrated just how valuable he is to the lineup during his match-sealing victory. The junior showcased his speed and quickness as he covered the entire court while chasing down shots from Kalpazanov.

The junior looked equally comfortable on the move as when he was able to set his feet, pick a corner of the court and launch a return on target.

“He’s very confident,” Bowman said of Casey. “He’s played a lot of tough matches. With us being in the bigger league this year, he’s played against Barnstable, Martha’s Vineyard and Falmouth — really good opponents and competition. He’s raised his game to a different level.”

As Bowman and the Sharks prepare for their final regular season matches against Dennis-Yarmouth and Bourne — two squads the team beat handily in their first meetings — the coach said he’s happy to know his players have been battle tested throughout the season.

“We didn’t play well in the beginning of the year, so we’ve already had that valley,” Bowman said. “It’s good to have that pressure early in the season. They’ve been there, they know how to respond, read plays and take it one point at a time.”

Casey said it’s great to be heading back to the state tournament.

“Every year that I’ve been on the team we’ve always made it to the tournament,” he said. “It’s exciting, but definitely nervous because the intensity increases a lot, even in the first few rounds.”