Successful debut for newly forged Meriden boys co-op

MERIDEN – It has been 10 years since Maloney offered a boys’ tennis team, and now the school is back on the field with the help of rival Platt.

The Spartans and Panthers unveiled their newly created Meriden boys’ tennis team on Monday. The co-op staged his inaugural match at the Platt Course on a sunny, windy and cool afternoon and drove a dominant performance in singles to win a 4-3 victory over Centra Connecticut Conference enemy RHAM.

“We’re just so excited to see the enthusiasm,” said first-year coach Maureen Suzio. “I thought they were amazing and I’m just so happy for them.”

Meriden comes on the field this season with 27 players. The distribution is 19 from Platt and eight from Maloney.

The three recurring Platt from last year are Maureen Suzio’s sons: senior twins William and Jack and sophomore Ben, the No. 1 singles player. Maureen’s husband, Jim, is an assistant coach.

William and Jack Suzio are team captains and typically combine at No. 1 doubles, but on Monday they served as No. 3 and No. 4 singles players behind their brother Ben and top player from Maloney, junior Calvin Henderson, who lined up. up on No. 2 singles.

Ben Suzio, Henderson and William Suzio all won 6-0, 6-1. Jack Suzio scored a 6-2, 6-1 decision.

“I did not expect them to win like we did today,” Maureen Suzio said of her singleslate. “We had to figure out if we wanted to keep our No. 1 double team or split them into singles, and we decided to do that. We have a couple more kids who will be eligible next week and the lineup will look different next week. The team is doing well and I am so happy for them. ”

With his victory, Henderson became the first Maloney tennis player to win a high school match in 10 years.

“I have been playing tennis for years in the summer and I have never played tennis during the school year; the team has been on and off, “Henderson said.” My dad (Luke) played tennis for Maloney and went to states, and over the years, the program just dropped out. He tried to start the program again last year as a coach, but not enough signed up.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity today. I will definitely do it next year and have a lot of fun. I’m proud to represent my school and my city.”

Henderson is also active in the theater and marching band in Maloney.

Maureen Suzio said with a young team that she is just looking for the team to get better.

“I hope we can win 50 percent of our matches; that would be nice. I know a lot of teams are new, “she said.” We just seek to stay positive and hopefully learn and take each match one day at a time. Because we had two weeks of training and the next six weeks we will play Monday, Wednesday and Friday matches, as long as the weather allows. We’re going to run away. “

Meridens double team on Monday was Platt junior duo Jeff Oriyavong and Alex Michaud at No. 1, Platt second duo Connor Rivera and Andrew Paches at No. 2 and the combination of Platt freshman Ben Rusate and Maloney junior Sean Aitken at No. 3 .

Oriyavong and Michaud lost a nail-biter in three sets. The Meriden duo lost the first set 2-6 and then won the second 7-6 on an 8-6 tiebreaker. The third set supertiebreak went to Sachems, 10-5.

The other two Meriden tandems fell in equal sets.

Maloney stopped posing with a boys’ tennis team after the spring of 2012.

Platt boys tennis numbers have meanwhile fallen and set the table for a co-op. The Panthers managed with 12 players last season, even in states.

With the addition of boys’ tennis, Platt and Maloney are now collaborating on four sports. Girls swimming, boys swimming and lacrosse, who went to university this spring, are the others.

“It’s really nice considering last year that we could hardly fill up a team and now we’ve doubled our size now that we’ve partnered with Maloney,” said Jack Suzio. “There are a lot more new kids, which is good because we only had three returning players. I think it’s going to be a tough season, but we should still do pretty well.

William Suzio said the co-op was a great option for anyone who wanted to play tennis at Platt and Maloney. He added that prior to the collaboration, there was concern that Platt would not be able to field a team alone with only three returning players.

“It’s been good getting to know some of the kids from across the city,” William Suzio said. “Maloney has added a lot to the team. It’s nice to have some more seats filled. There is no such thing as too many people. We are willing to take the one who shows up. ”

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