Peddie wins first three

BOYS TENNIS: A rainout of the scheduled season opener against Lawrenceville didn’t slow down the Falcons, who are off to a 3-0 start.

By: Neil Hay
   With Peddie’s scheduled opener against Lawrenceville rained out April 3, the Falcons’ tennis match against visiting George the following afternoon was bumped to first of the season. The delayed start had no apparent effect on the Peddie netters as they responded with a 5-2 win.
   John Scott had a solid start at first singles with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Mike Millner, avenging last year’s loss to this opponent.
   "It was a very good win for John," said Peddie coach Eric Gustavson.
   Making his varsity debut at second singles was Yuriy Pereyaslavskiy, who defeated Bill Ross 6-4, 6-1.
   "Yuriy was a little shaky," said Gustavson. "He didn’t play his best. He got better as the match went on. He was a little tentative early on."
   George scored a win at third singles when Stefan Vevleysen outlasted Anthony Passannante 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
   "I was pleased the way he came back in the second set. He adjusted against a good player. I wished he could have sustained it," said Gustavson.
   Will Patterson, who missed much of the preseason, rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at fourth singles over Nate Pfaff. Patterson was down 1-3 (0-40) in the second when he started his comeback. Said Gustavson, "Patterson gutted it out. He made a lot of early mistakes but cut down on his errors. He is rusty. He will make us much stronger."
   Playing together for the first time, the Peddie first doubles team of Derek Chao and Derrick Guneratne posted a 6-2, 6-1 win over Matthias Engel and Rick Privirotsky.
   "They played well," said Gustavson. "Chao is an experienced player at first doubles."
   George picked up its second point of the day when David Waldman and Marv Mempin decisioned Todd Roffman and Kyle Leotsakos at second doubles, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4 tiebreaker).
   "We played loose that first set and gave away too many points. Too many mistakes. They played better the second set. More aggressive, fewer errors," said Gustavson.
   Peddie won at third doubles when Ross Packard and Mike Prashad came from behind in both sets to score a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Tim Fritsch and Jay McDermott. Said Gustavson, "They were tentative at first in both sets, then settled down and played better." It was Prashad’s first varsity win.
   "It was good win," summed up Gustavson. "George is always a solid team. They compete well. We were happy."
   The Falcons swept the singles matches in a 4-1 win at Lawrence on Saturday. Scott won in three sets 3-6, 7-5, 3-3 (injury default) when his opponent Marc Nichols withdrew because of cramps and could not continue.
   "John was not at his best," admitted Gustavson. "Nichols is one of the better players in the county."
   Pereyaslavskiy was impressive in a 6-0, 6-0 win over Andrew Marks. Said Gustavson, "Marks is a good player. Yuriy was awesome, the best I’ve seen him play. He hit a lot of good shots, he had a lot of variety to his shots. There were a lot of close game. It was not as easy as the score indicates."
   Passannante completed the Falcons’ run through singles with a 7-5, 7-5 win over John Margolis.
   "It was a pretty close match. Anthony came from behind in both sets. He played tough. He competed very well."
   Chao and Patterson were teamed at first doubles and they provided a 6-1, 6-2 win over Aaron Naar and Jason Kaplan.
   "They played very well," said Gustavson. "They beat a pretty good team. Both are good doubles players."
   Lawrence avoided the shutout when Brian Thaler and Raj Kapour topped Guneratne and Leotsakos 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
   "I think they can play better. They were a little tentative. When they were behind they played better to win the second set. They couldn’t get going in the third set.
   "It was a very good win," said Gustavson of the victory over Lawrence. "It is a strong start to the season."
   The start got stronger Wednesday as Peddie defeated Blair 6-1 on the Falcons’ courts.
   Scott opened at one with a wild 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (8-6) win over Chris Wong.
   "They played three times last year," recalled Gustavson of Scott and Wong. "Everyone of them was a nail-biter. It was a great matchup and an excellent match."
   At two Pereyaslavskiy defeated Armin Drake by a 6-4, 7-5 score. Pereyaslavskiy saved three set points in the second set to earn the win. "Said Gustavson, "Yuriy beat a very good player. It was a great match. Blair is very tough at the top of their lineup."
Blair’s Andy Porter won at three, defeating Passannante 6-2, 1-6, 6-1.
   "Passannante lost to a good player. He played well in stretches."
   At four was Patterson and he came through with a 6-1, 6-3 decision over Andy Caretsky.
   "Will is playing better and better," said Gustavson. "It was a very solid performance."
   In doubles play, Chao and Roffman teamed at one to tame Andrew Schmeelk and Tom Gianis 6-4, 6-3. It was the first time Chao and Roffman played together.
   "Derek is a sound and consistent player. They played well as a team."
   At two was Leotsakos and Guneratne and they topped Ritchie Eu and Agbesi Akpedoni by a 6-2, 6-1 score. It was Peddie’s first win this season at second doubles and Leotsakos’s first victory of the year.
   "It was special for Kyle," said Gustavson.
   Prashad and Josh McGuiness filled out the score sheet with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Mike Wilson and Patrick Gordon at three. It was McGuiness’ first varsity match and a winner.
   "They played well together," said Gustavson.
   So the Falcons are off to a fine 3-0 start. With Patterson in the starting lineup, Peddie is that much better.
   "I said it all along it depended on Will playing. With him we should be very good or better. He makes us solid. We’ve now beaten three good teams. We are building confidence. I hope we can sustain it," said Gustavson.