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The Cranston West boys tennis team didnâ€™t lose a single match last season and finished a perfect 18-0 en route to the Division II Championship.
During the Falconsâ€™ run only one team â€“ Prout â€“ seriously threatened to upend Westâ€™s run as the No. 5 seed Crusadersâ€™ were one point away from shocking the odd-on favorites in the D-II Semifinals.
e D-II Semifinals.
â€śCranston West we gave them their best run for the money,â€ť Prout coach Mary Lou Morissette says. â€śIn the semifinals we had a 3-2 edge and just couldnâ€™t put it away.â€ť
This season the Crusaders wonâ€™t have to worry about Cranston West or East Greenwich â€“ who dealt South Kingstown a rare loss Tuesday â€“ for that matter as both teams have moved up to Division I.
Classical is likely Proutâ€™s biggest competition this season but the Crusaders have already shown they can beat the Purple, handing them a 4-3 loss in the season opener on April 2.
â€śWeâ€™ve started off pretty well and the big one was Classical,â€ť Morissette says. â€śThat was a nice surprise for us.â€ť
The Crusaders are unbeaten through three matches this season and Morissette has seen enough to convince her that this
team is capable of making a return trip to the playoffs.
â€śWeâ€™re definitely making the playoffs, no question,â€ť she says, â€śand then what happens after that itâ€™s a little bit of luck.
â€śWe have a good bit of talent this year and weâ€™ll see where that goes. I think weâ€™re in good shape.â€ť
Returning to the top of the ladder this season is senior Brandon Hazelton, who should be one of the toughest players in the division this season.
â€śHe has a variety type of a game,â€ť Morissette said. â€śHe can be a solid hitting kid but heâ€™s also got slices and chops. He can pull anything out of the hat.â€ť
After Hazelton, senior Matt Peacock will play No. 2 singles, junior Chris Condon at No. 3 and senior Adam Kaley at No. 4.
An injury to senior Matt Monjay has shaken up the doubles ladder so far but when Monjay returns he will play in the No. 2 spot with junior Marc Laflamme.
Senior Jackson Welsh and junior Brian Lamendola will anchor the top of the doubles ladder, while junior Jack Ma and senior Brandon Hayes will be in the No. 3 spot.
The win over Classical was certainly a big one for the Crusaders but Tuesdayâ€™s 5-2 victory over a much-improved Chariho team was nothing to scoff at either.
The top match of day came at No. 2 singles as Peacock â€“ who has faced a series of tough opponents to start the season â€“ erased a first game defeat to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 over Charihoâ€™s Nick Brocato.
At No. 1 singles Hazelton took care of Will Masse 6-1, 6-3, while Condon defeated Nick Wollenberg 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3 singles.
In doubles, Welsh and Lamendola topped Nick Lecours and Chandler Scott 6-3, 6-3 at No. 1, while at No. 2 Laflamme and Hayes bested Tyler Amaral and Jacob Desrosiers 6-0, 6-1.
The Crusaders (3-0 D-II Suburban A) hosted winless Pilgrim Thursday (results unavailable at press time) and will be back in action Monday at 9:30 a.m. when they travel to take on Woonsocket.