The Staples boys tennis team had an outstanding season by most standards last spring.
The Wreckers posted an 18-2 record, but fell in the FCIAC final and Class LL to Greenwich for the second straight season. The pair of runner-up finishes has this senior-laden team extra motivated to return home with first-place hardware this year.
"We have seven seniors this year, four who have been through the ropes as four-year players," Staples coach Kris Hrisovulos said. "And hopefully they will go out on top this year. We have to play our best tennis torwards the end but I feel optimistic about it this year."
Hrisovulos begins his fifth season in charge, during which time the Wreckers have a 74-6 record.
The Wreckers graduated No. 1 Jake Hirschberg, who went 44-5 in four seasons and is now attending Colgate. Staples, the 2011 Class LL champions, had a pair of Class LL quarterfinalists and a semifinalist in Luke Foreman last season.
"(Foreman) had a great run at the end of the year," Hrisovulos said. "I think he's got a great game in terms of outdoor tennis and being a great competitor. He's very smart on the court and will just find a way to win. He will be right there as one of the top players in the state."
Hrisovulos said he doesn't have a bonafide No. 1, rather a group of four players pushing for that spot. Josh Moskovitz, Zack Levin, Will Andrews and Foreman will be all in the mix to battle the FCIAC's top No. 1s. Moskovitz missed six months as a result of a back injury and Hrisovulos believes he will be back to top form by May.
"Depth has always been the norm," Hrisovulos said. "I think in terms of not having a true No. 1, it will be good because the kids, day in and day out, will compete. They won't get stagnant or stale and they will drive each other to be the best. In terms of experienced depth, this is the best I've had."
The Wreckers will meet the Cardinals, winners of 11 of the previous 12 FCIAC titles, in the penultimate match of the regular season on May 19. Staples, which has seven seniors, has finished second the last four seasons.
"(Greenwich is) always circled," Hrisovulos said. "They did lose some players, but they always rebuild and are always on top. As much as it is our goal to beat them, our ultimate goal is to win both titles, especially FCIACs, which has eluded us the last four years. It's something our boys want."
Staples begins its season at home April 9 against Darien. The Wreckers will also be playing on a brand new surface as a part of a recently completed $320,000 renovation of the courts.