Nearly All Aces for Finley Boys' Tennis
They were oh-so-close to getting through the schedule without a single blemish. That's a hard thing to do in any sport, especially tennis, where so many things can go wrong on any given day.
The J. Taylor Finley Middle School boys' tennis team compiled an 8-1 record this past spring under head coach Eric Mininni. The Falcons were captained by eighth graders Patrick Lombardi and Shane Meyers. The squad featured 11 eighth graders and nine seventh graders.
"This is a great group of kids, as well as being phenomenal tennis players," Mininni said. "During tryouts, I really felt like this was going to be a great year and we would have many victories."
Finley's lone loss was at the hands of perennial league power Commack, 4-3. The highlight of the season came when the Falcons topped Smithtown. "They are always tough and they beat us last year, 7-0," Mininni said. "I think we are proudest of that victory."
Seventh grader Marco Ammirati led Finley from his No. 1 singles position. "He stepped up his game and solidified his standing as our top singles player," Mininni said. "Marco has incredible smarts and guile for a young player. He is going to be a real force in the future."
Lombardi held down the No. 2 singles spot and was impressive throughout the season. "Patrick is as hard a worker as I have come across in all my years as a coach," Mininni said. "He's so dedicated and has that 'refuse to lose' mentality. Most importantly to me is that he's a real gentleman. He's a great leader."
Finley also benefitted from the strong performances of seventh grader Will Fehrs, who dazzled in the No. 3 singles position and Meyers, who was a fixture in the No. 4 singles slot. The first doubles combo of eighth graders Charlie Beers and Kyle Gabriel was also tough to beat.
"I have my first and third singles players returning as well as some kids who were not able to break into the lineup this year who have talent and will be good players next spring," Mininni said.