GREEN The fall and winter sports seasons brought quite a bit of success for the Green Bulldogs and the school’s spring sports have taken that success and built on it in impressive fashion.
Perhaps no spring squad has embodied that trend more than the boys tennis team, which has won won its first 10 dual matches and added a tournament triumph to pile up 11 early successes and is riding a wave of momentum into the most important part of its season.
“Last year, we had the opposite happen, where we had three or four rainouts in a row and then our first match was a Federal League match against Lake and we went over there and we’re ready to go and it was embarrassing how we played,” head coach Michael DiAntonio said. “This year, our guys came in thinking we could be really good and showed it.”
They showed it with wins over some top opponents, including an Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament win against Lakewood St. Edward, a school DiAntonio noted knocked Green’s basketball team out of the regional tournament last month.
Defeating a parochial power such as St. Edward is a tough task in any sport, so Green’s 4-1 win bolstered the Bulldogs’ belief that they can compete with the best teams. It’s a belief that will be put to the test in the next two weeks as league matches against Jackson and Hoover will both challenge Green and give the Bulldogs an idea of where they stand and what it will take to finish stop the league standings come season’s end.
“We always like to shoot for the top of the Federal League and it’s always tough … Hoover and Jackson have been the top teams since we’ve been in the league,” DiAntonio said.
If Green is to push past the Polar Bears and Vikings, it will lean on a junior trio that has a wealth of varsity experience and has roared out of the gate this spring. Even when the weather has been inhospitable, playing at the Green Tennis Club has allowed the Bulldogs to keep working and battling toward what they expect to be a successful final stretch of the season.
Logan Langovsky has reached the district tournament two years in a row and has designs on making it all the way to the state tournament as a junior. His 10-0 record in match play mirrors that of his team and after playing some at second singles last season, he’s flourished in the top spot.
With Ramiro Garza and Dylan Westmeyer at second and third singles, respectively, Green has depth that has held up well through the first month of the season. That has created breathing room for the squad’s doubles teams, which both feature players who are new to one another as doubles partners but have gelled and amassed winning records to this point in the season.
“Our singles guys all shooting to get past sectionals and on to districts,” DiAntonio said. “Even though our doubles teams are new to each other, they’ve won their last six matches in a row.”
The first doubles team features the tandem of senior co-captain Prashanth Ragunanthan and junior Alex Castner, while the second doubles team pairs senior Daniel DeLuca and freshman Jackson Lightner. With subs Emma Garee, Ian Kinaitis and Vasilios Konstantacos, DiAntonio and assistant coach Joe Altier have had to patch holes in the lineup due to injuries and players on vacation during spring break, but it hasn’t slowed down the Bulldogs’ winning pace.
The veteran coach also credits much of the program’s success - not just at the varsity level - to the on-campus courts the district built a few years ago. Not having to drive down the road to Boettler Park to practice and play and having enough courts for a full match has boosted interested in the program, DiAntonio said.
“That’s got to be, I can’t put a percentage on it, but one of the biggest things helping our school’s program,” DiAntonio said. “For our summer camp, we have 100 young kids come out. I’ve been involved since 2013, and we have kids as young as 4 or 5 years old, going up to 13 or 14 years old, and having the varsity guys working with them makes those young kids feel really special.”
With more league matches, along with non-league battles against former Suburban League rivals such as Wadsworth and Highland, on the schedule, it will be challenging to keep the wins rolling in, but Green has set a good pace for itself and laid a foundation for a winning season. Now, it’s up to the Bulldogs to see if they can add more entries into the record book for a school year that has already seen history made for the district athletically.
Reach Andy at 330-580-8936
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