By Jim Newell
Review Staff Writer
The boys varsity tennis team has one goal in mind this season: to replicate the success of last season when they were co-league champs with Rochester.
“The goal is to try to repeat that. Our main goal is to try to win the league again,” said Coach Eric Bracciano, now in his eighth year coaching both boys and girls tennis.
The team took a definitive leap toward that goal in the first match of the season Aug. 31, winning seven of eight matches against Brandon High School.
In the singles matches, number one seed Felix Partington, number two seed Julian Olejnik, and number three seed, senior Taggart Hatch, all won their best of three set matches 6-0, 6-0.
Good news for the team’s future considering that Partington is a sophomore and Olejnik is a junior.
Fourth-seeded singles player Nick Palatka, a sophomore, lost a close three set match 7-5, 2-6, 7-6.
“These guys are back to lead the team with their play and experience,” Bracciano said of the team’s top three seeds. “We know what we can count on from those three guys.”
In doubles play, the number one doubles team of Stephan Serzo and Nate Palatka won 6-2, 6-0.
Number two seeds Joey Bieda and Austin Emig won 6-0, 6-2.
Third-seeded Spencer Powell and Eric Nelson won 6-1, 6-1.
And the fourth-seeded team of Leo Nunez and Shawn Donahue won 6-0, 6-0.
Bracciano said he was confident in the doubles teams, expecting them to step up to the challenge this season and keep Lake Orion in the hunt for another title, singling out Serzo and Palatka.
“Which I think they will. It’s always an honor to play number one doubles,” Bracciano said.
While the first match bore great results for the team, the players work ethic in preseason training gave them a solid foundation.
“It’s been great,” Bracciano said.
“We’ve been having two-a-days and the guys have been showing a lot of dedication and focus. They’re very focused and determined at practice. I think they enjoy it,” he said.
There are 26 total players this year, 14 varsity players, eight of whom are seniors, and 12 junior varsity players. The JV team is coached by teacher Lindsay Finkbeiner.
The team’s next match is Sept. 8 at 4 p.m. at Stoney Creek High School.
By Jim Newell