AVON, June 10 – There was little resistance to the Avon High boys tennis team this spring as they marched through the North Central Connecticut Conference’s regular season and end-of-season league tournament.
The Falcons easily won their second straight NCCC championship with a 14-0 record, dropping just two of 98 individual matches along the way. Overall, Avon went 17-1, dropping a 6-1 decision to Glastonbury in the final week of the regular season.
At the league tournament, an Avon player won all four singles titles and all three doubles brackets as the Falcons nearly scored more team points (70) than the remaining five teams in the tournament combined (73).
Surely, it was going to be tougher at the Class M tournament. Right?
Sophomore Sam Flaxman won four matches before losing in the semifinals while the doubles team of Saagar Sinha and Jason Sittambalam won four bouts before falling in the championship match to help the Falcons to a dominating victory and the Class M state championship
Every Avon singles player and doubles team won at least one match as the Falcons won their third state title and first since 1994 with a dominating 25-19 win over Stonington. Waterford was a distant third with 14 points.
Flaxman, the No. 9 seed, had an outstanding tournament, dropping just two games in his first three matches. In the quarterfinals, he upset top-seeded Colin Melford of Stonington, 7-5, 6-3. But Flaxman fell in the semifinals to eventual champion Bradley Orban of Foran, 6-1, 6-1.
Unseeded Sam Aronson won three matches, including a pair of wins over two seeded players. In the third round, Aronson eliminated No. 5 seed Evan Gadney of Sheehan, 6-1, 1-6, 6-1. Again, Orban eliminated another Falcon with a win over Aronson in the quarterfinals.
Senior Alex Dahlem was seeded third and dropped just four games in winning his first three matches. But in the quarterfinals, he was upset in a hard-fought match by No. 6 Joel Simonson of Waterford, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. Avon’s Michael Van Dusen won two singles matches before getting eliminated in the third round.
In doubles, Sinha, a freshman, and Sittabalam, a junior, earned the No. 2 seed and they won four straight bouts including a tough 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 3 Peter Berges/Dakota Roos of Branford to earn a spot in the final. Sinha and Sittabalam lost in the finals to Tolland’s Dylan Roman and Eric Venezia, 7-5, 6-4 but they earned All-State honors for reaching the finals.
Freshmen John Burdick and Riley Van Dusen won a pair of matches before getting eliminated in the quarterfinals while junior Jeremy Bloom and sophomore Alex Saslow went 1-1 in the tournament. Both teams fell in three sets.
Avon previously won the Class S title in 1994 and 1986. The Falcons finished second in Class S for three straight years from 2002-04. Ben Lukowicz coached the team this year.
At the NCCC tournament, Dahlen won at No. 1 singles beating Canton’s Peter Jutras, 6-2, 6-4. Flaxman won the title at No. 2 singles with Aronson taking No. 3 singles and Michael Van Dusen winning the No. 4 singles title.
In doubles, Sattambalm and John Burdick won at the No. 1 doubles with Jeremy Blum and Ryan Van Dusen winning No. 2 doubles and Evan Selzer and Alex Saslow taking the No. 3 doubles title. Each Falcon that won titles in singles and doubles earned All-NCCC honors.
CIAC Class M boys tennis
At Windsor Locks
Team results – 1. Avon 70, 2. Suffield 22, 3. Canton 21, 4. Bolton 20, 5. Granby 6, 6. Windsor Locks 4
No. 1 singles: Alex Dahlen (A) def. Peter Jutras (C), 6-2, 6-4
No. 2 singles: Sam Flaxman (A) def. Billy Whedon (B), 6-4, 6-1
No. 3 singles: Sam Aronson (A) def. Sam Hillenbrand (B), 6-3, 6-2
No. 4 singles: Michael Van Dusen (A) def. Ben Corbett (C), 6-2, 6-3
No. 1 doubles: Jason Sattambalm-John Burdick (A) def. Nate Crosby-Peter Crosby (S), 6-2, 6-2
No. 2 doubles: Jeremy Blum-Ryan Van Dusen (A) def. Eric Lenser-Tyler Seidel (S), 6-3, 6-3
No. 3 doubles: Evan Selzer-Alex Saslow (A) def. Chris Coleman-Eric Scott (C), 6-4, 6-2.