Doubles prove trouble for Westport boys’ tennis foes

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Doubles players help get tennis squad off to a quick start

By Steve Rogers

WESTPORT — Sophomore Lyle Rosa teamed with junior Tom Yeargin to make short work of their second doubles opponents when the Westport High School boys’ tennis team edged Fairhaven 3-2 April 3 at Westport Middle School.

Rosa and Yeargin, who was filling in for senior captain Dalton Bryant who had to leave to attend a college-related function before the second doubles match began, downed their foes 6-0, 6-1 to clinch Westport’s third consecutive win to begin the season.

“I think we’ll win a lot of our matches because of our doubles strength,” said Westport coach Tom Clark. “We have a really decent middle of the lineup, all of who could go start playing doubles.”

Rosa and Bryant combined to win their first two doubles matches when the Wildcats downed Case 5-0 and Bishop Connolly 3-2. Now Yeargin has moved into the victory column as well. It’s a sure bet  junior Matt Murphy, sophomore Robert Shaw and freshmen Shayne Lees, Alex Machairas and Steve Hartnett will get the opportunity to claim a part of a doubles win too.

“They’re all roughly equal quality. It’s like a traffic jam,” Clark said. “We have quite a few decent doubles teams. I could put our No. 10 into doubles and be comfortable.

“Robert Shaw, he’s the only player really new to tennis. But he picks things up quickly. He’ll be in a couple matches before the end of the season.”

Westport’s No. 1 tandem of juniors Richie Hartnett and Scott Raudonaitis earned its third consecutive win with a 6-2, 6-3 verdict over Giulianno Conte and Jackson Oliva. The win, on the heels of junior No. 3 singles player George Machairas’s 6-4, 6-1 triumph over Dan McLaughlin, gave the Wildcats a 2-1 edge in the match at that point. It was also the third straight solo win for Machairas.

“ George, like his brother (Tony) that played before him, is like a backboard,” Clark said. “He’s very consistent and when he gets an opening he kills the ball.”

Fairhaven’s Anthony Joseph collected his team’s initial point with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Westport No. 1 player Nick Rosa. The Westport junior is trying to adjust to life at the top spot since moving up from No. 2 singles last season. He takes the place of graduated Dan Chouinard, now playing singles for UMass-Dartmouth as a freshman.

“Even though we lost the magnificent Dan Chouinard I think we’re going to have another successful season,” Clark said. “Nick is our No. 1. While he doesn’t have the height and maybe not quite the power Dan had, he brings consistency and covers the court great. We lack the height and the serve but we gain other things with Nick.”

After the Wildcats took their 2-1 lead Fairhaven No. 2 singles player Adam Lima defeated Westport senior captain Chris Hartnett 6-3, 6-4 to knot the match at 2-2. Hartnett, also a basketball and soccer player, began playing varsity tennis as a sophomore and has moved up the ladder each year.

“He was our No. 3 last year and this year he’s No. 2,” Clark said. “He’s just an athlete. He’s tall and athletic so he’s definitely a threat at the net.”

Rosa and Yeargin quickly made sure the Wildcats would remain unbeaten with their easy win at No. 2 doubles. Lyle Rosa is not related to Nick Rosa but there are family connections on the squad.

“We have three Hartnetts, two Machairas’ and two Rosas on the team,” said Clark. “And of course, we’ve had a Machairas in the past.”

That family connection has helped restock the boys’ tennis team over the past few years. And with just Chris Hartnett and Jones graduating this spring, the Wildcats should be in a good place again with next year’s squad.

“I’ve been lucky. I always get brothers or friends that come up and keep our team strong,” said Clark. “Losing Dalton and Chris will hurt but having everyone else back will make us strong next year too. We look good for the future.”

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