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05/08/2022 12:00 AM

Warriors Netting a Plethora of Success This Spring

The Valley Regional boys’ tennis squad has a record of 9-0 as the Warriors pursue a Shoreline Conference title this season. Photo courtesy of Laura Matesky

After losing just four matches all of last season, the Valley Regional boys’ tennis team has returned to its winning ways in the 2022 campaign. The Warriors are sporting a record of 9-0 after defeating Haddam-Killingworth in their lone matchup last week.

Head Coach Callie Riggio attributes Valley’s success to the strong mentality that her players are bringing to the court this year. Riggio wants the Warriors to go into every contest with optimism, and she’s pleased to see her athletes using that type of mindset to thrive between the baselines.

“We have stepped up to the plate this season to try to become Shoreline champions,” Coach Riggio said. “All players have maintained positive sportsmanship during matches, supported each other’s growth, and stayed hopeful. For all of our matches, the boys always try their best and remain patient, but confident.”

Valley hosted H-K for a match on May 5 and defeated the Cougars by the final score of 6-1. The Warriors claimed victories in three of the four singles matches on the afternoon. Senior captain Nic Wyszkowski earned a 6-1, 6-4 victory in the No. 1 singles match for Valley. Senior captain Hayden Lombardi won a 6-3, 6-2 decision at No. 3 singles; while senior Jack Whittaker was a 6-0, 6-1 winner at No. 4 singles.

Valley’s No. 1 doubles team of senior Kaid Matesky and junior Aidan Garrity won their contest by a 6-1, 6-0 score. The Warriors also picked up forfeit victories at No. 2 and 3 doubles en route to defeating H-K on Senior Night.

“Each player stayed strong in their matches and continued to encourage their teammates on and off the court,” said Riggio. “This match was our designated Senior Night, so we had a great turnout with parental support and Warrior positivity.”

Coach Riggio has enjoyed watching her players make progress as the season has unfolded. Riggio believes that every athlete on the team has seen marked improvements since the beginning of the year.

“I enjoy watching everyone on the team play. Each player has their strengths and strategies, which makes every match interesting and entertaining,” Riggio said. “To see everyone’s relentlessness and perseverance is very inspiring not only as a coach, but for other players, as well.”

Wyszkowski and Hayden Lombardi are serving as Valley’s senior captains while playing in the No. 1 and 3 singles positions, respectively, this season. Sophomore Thomas Dahl is the No. 2 singles player, and Whittaker is holding down the No. 4 singles spot for the Warriors.

On the other side of the court, Matesky and Garrity are forming Valley’s No. 1 doubles team. Seniors Sawyer Joy and Peter Fitton have been joining forces at No. 2 doubles, while sophomore Charlie Whelan and freshman Shep Whitney are playing No. 3 doubles. Other members of the team include sophomores Willem Fitton and Lucas Silva, along with freshman Ed Johnson.

Coach Riggio feels happy to see such solid camaraderie and a strong sense of inclusiveness among the players on her team this year.

“Our potential position of winning Shorelines has made the team stronger, and I always enjoy seeing them support one another,” said Riggio. “After we’ve played a tough match, it’s always rewarding watching the boys celebrate afterward since they’ve put so much hard work into this season.”

Valley has three regular-season matches remaining with contests against Cromwell, East Hampton, and Morgan. The Warriors will then move on to the postseason, and Coach Riggio has high expectations about what the squad can accomplish in both Shorelines and states.

“For the rest of the year, I anticipate that we’ll maintain our motivation and commitment to being undefeated, as well as our No. 1 Class S ranking,” Riggio said. “Competition aside, the boys are excited to finish the season strong with the six seniors that are expected to graduate and ultimately continue to have fun and enjoyable matches.”

Coach Riggio has enjoyed getting the parents involved with the team throughout the season. Riggio is glad to see so many parents coming out to watch Valley’s matches, especially for the team’s recent Senior Night triumph.

“Parents love coming to support the team, and it makes it more memorable when all parties are involved,” said Riggio. “Having the support at our matches definitely helps the boys when they need some encouragement.”