The Finley boys' tennis team compiled an 8-2 record this spring.

Season Comes Up Aces for Finley Tennis

The J. Taylor Finley Middle School 2022 boys' tennis team with coach John Romano.

June 16, 2022

The spring season came up aces for the J. Taylor Finley Middle School tennis team, which compiled an 8-2 record under first year head coach John Romano.

After dropping its first match to Commack on April 26, Finley won seven straight meets before being stopped by Oldfield. But the Blue Devils wrapped up the season with a 6-1 win over Elwood.

The top players on the team included seventh graders Michael Tucker and Jake Chiclacos and eighth graders Evan Persampire, Marin Mullaly, Caleb Palermo, Andrew Ochoa, Dalton Flynn and Ryan Donovan.

“Evan easily had the hardest match-ups on the team,” Romano said. “He faced every team’s No. 1 singles player. Even though his record might not have shown it, he improved each match. He was battle tested and facing good competition each match only helped him improve each week. He will have a very good high school career.”

Mullaly and Palermo formed a potent doubles duo. “They dominated the doubles match up each week by using their power and height,” Romano said. “They took up a lot of space on the court, making it difficult for the opposing team to win points. Playing together, their record was 6-2. They will make a nice impact for the JV team next year.

Ochoa and Donovan also played well together throughout the season, tallying a 5-2 mark. “There were some easy matches, but they faced some really good competition all season,” Romano said. “They were able to grind out games by using good touch and placement of the ball each game.”

The coach said Tucker was the “most athletic tennis player” on the court during every match. The seventh grader won seven of ten matches. “He certainly wasn’t overpowering, but he made the opponent make mistakes,” Romano said. “We called him ‘Marathon Mike’ because his matches would last forever due to his defensive style of play. Opponents left the court frustrated after playing Michael regardless if they won or lost.”

Flynn proved his worth to the team as well, going 6-2. “Dalton is a similar player to Michael Tucker with the defensive hitting tactics,” Romano said. “He came to practice every day looking to improve and the work he put in is a reflection of his record.”  

The highlight of the spring was the team’s seven meet winning streak. “During this time we had multiple players miss matches due to sickness and players like Jackson Poli, Patrick Tortora, Lucas Biancardo and Braedan Kline had to step up and fill in. These players were prepared to step up at a moment’s notice and really excelled when called upon.”

Seventh graders Nicolay Caldwell and Quinn Rinaldi and eighth grader Kevin Dominquez filled out the roster and gave Finley depth that other teams could only dream about.

“This was a unique team; fun and loud, but when it came down to it, this team competed during every practice and match,” Romano said. “There was never one person who was dominant on the court during practice. The players on this team were very similar in skill and that’s why I think we were so successful. The doubles teams played well together and the singles players – all interchangeable – battled each practice. The competition during matches at practice showed how anyone can play singles or doubles on a given day.”

Eight current seventh graders are set to return next spring, which will give Finley a solid nucleus to build around.