Newcomers Help Solidify Monomoy Boys Tennis Lineup

by Brad Joyal

HARWICH – New additions are a key part of every high school sports team.

Each season, seniors graduate and younger players take on larger roles while establishing themselves in the mix. For this year’s Monomoy boys tennis team, newcomers are playing a key role in the starting lineup.

While the Sharks have benefited from the addition of Paul Carlson and Stephen Kelly — two seniors who decided to play tennis this spring after previously competing for Monomoy’s track and field team — the squad has also received a boost from Roman Pavluchenko, an eighth grader from Harwich.

“He’s really filled into the lineup and has done an amazing job,” Monomoy coach Reuben Bowman said of Pavluchenko, who has established himself as a key contributor while playing third singles this season. “He reminds me a little bit of our No. 1, Ryan Casey, when he came up in eighth grade. Ryan played No. 2 singles when he was an eighth grader and went 17-0, so it’s really nice to have that depth at third singles.”

Although they are new to the team, which fell to 2-3 in the young season following Monday’s 4-1 loss at Cape Cod Academy, Carlson and Kelly have still proved to be valuable leaders for their new team.

Both played key roles for Monomoy’s boys soccer team in the fall and helped the program reach the Division 4 state championship — the program’s first state final appearance in school history.

“They were both starters, so they definitely both bring that senior leadership and they want to win,” Bowman said. “It’s really good for the younger kids to see their leadership and learn from them.”

Carlson has been inserted into second doubles alongside senior Liam Jordan, and Bowman said he’s been impressed with the way the newcomer has adapted to his new sport while showing flashes of what made him a standout goalkeeper for the Sharks soccer team.

“He has a lot of athletic ability and comes from soccer and has the footwork for tennis from soccer,” Bowman said.

Sophomore Ethan Seufert has also seen playing time as a singles player and started at third singles on Monday, suffering a 6-1, 6-2 to CCA’s Luke Caleshu. Senior Connor Francis and junior Blake Noonan have partnered to represent Monomoy as the team’s first doubles pair.

Despite dropping their past two matches — the Sharks fell 5-0 at Martha’s Vineyard on April 10 before breaking for April vacation — Bowman has been impressed with his team’s compete level, even in defeat.

The players’ competitiveness was quickly displayed when the team suffered a 3-2 loss at Nantucket in its season opener April 1.

“Even though we lost, I got a lot of feedback from the Nantucket coaches about how well our doubles played,” Bowman said. “We were able to take a couple matches to three sets and we played really well. The morale was really high, so I’m hoping that we can build off that.”

As the team looks to finish the regular season with a strong push that will help it return to the Division 4 state tournament, Bowman said he’s been pleased to see his players come together regardless of their experience competing for the school’s tennis team.

“It’s been really good to have old faces and see new faces,” the coach said.