The J. Taylor Finley Middle School boys’ tennis team stayed one step ahead of its foes this past spring, swinging its way to a winning record in the face of some stiff competition.
Coached by Huntington physical education teacher Eric Mininni, the 17 player squad was captained by Vincent Grassi, Timothy Kusterbeck, Gavin Lefebvre and Logan Toth. The Blue Devils compiled a 5-4-1 mark.
Finley was led by Toth, Kusterbeck and Grassi, who held down the first three singles positions, respectively. Raymond Cumella and Andrew Sullivan starred at first singles and Lars Galvin and Jackson Stollmack were standouts at No. 2 doubles.
“Logan battled in every single one of his matches and has real potential to play at the high school level,” Mininni said. “Timmy was by far my most improved player and if he continues to work will be a force to be reckoned with in high school. Vince Grassi was my most consistent player and an absolute pleasure to coach.”
Finley’s victories came over Smithtown Nesaquake/Great Hollow (6-1), Northport (6-1), Stimson (5-2), East Northport (6-1) and Elwood (6-1). The team dropped matches to Oldfield (6-1), Commack (6-1), Smithtown Accompset/Great Hollow (5-2) and Bay Shore (4-3). A match with Hauppauge ended in a 3-3 tie after rain cut play short.
“We are a young team,” Mininni said. “We will be losing a great group of eighth graders, but we have plenty of seventh graders looking to step it up.”
The roster included seventh graders Jake Amend, Raymond Cumella, Benjamin Edgar-McNerney, Lars Galvin, Tyler Godin, Dominic Roldan, Jake Schmitt, Eli Soric, Jackson Stollmack, Andrew Sullivan and Chase Williams; and eighth graders Roman Borovica, Jeffrey Garcia Cabrera, Vincent Grassi, Timothy Kusterbeck, Gavin Lefebvre and Logan Toth.
“Next year, I will be looking to Ray Cumella, Andrew Sullivan, Lars Galvin and Jackson Stollmack to lead the team,” Mininni said. “I am also looking forward to the growth of Ben Edgar-McNerney, Jake Amend, Tyler Godin and Eli Sovic and hopefully some others, including Dominic Roldan, Jake Schmitt and Chase Williams to strengthen the team.”
The highlight of the season came against Bay Shore in the final match. “The team had a rough match the before against Smithtown West, where they really took it to us,” Mininni said. “But we came back the next day and battled a really tough Bay Shore team. Although we lost, 4-3, the deciding match went to a tie-breaker.”