NORTH KINGSTOWN — The most intriguing matchup of the season in Division II boys tennis lost some juice due to a busy week for North Kingstown High School seniors.
The Skippers were without all 10 of their seniors for a battle of unbeaten teams against Mount St. Charles on Tuesday afternoon. While their younger teammates kept things interesting with three matches that went to a third set, the Mounties won 7-0, leaving the Skippers to look forward to being back to full strength for the postseason and a potential rematch.
“I think everyone was looking forward to this because we’re kind of the two big dogs in Division II,” North Kingstown coach Tim O’Neill said. “We may certainly see these guys in the playoffs.”
The seniors had prom on Monday and a senior picnic on Tuesday, with graduation set for Thursday. With the playoffs set to begin next week, the Skippers should be back in business and ready to follow through on what’s been a great regular season. North Kingstown is now 6-1, its best season since 2014.
The senior class has led the charge. The group includes Ethan Cote, Jonah Ellis, Neil Ellis, Liam Ennis, Finn Gaudreau, Owen Goba, Nick Neville, Alexander Ong, Alexander Soucy and Benjamin Turenne.
“It’s been a strong year,” O’Neill said. “No complaints. Coming out of winter, all of a sudden everything opened up and I think everyone was awfully happy to get out here. Our JV had a terrific year and our varsity has had a terrific year.”
Players who typically line up on the doubles court or for the JV team carried the torch on Tuesday and did what they could. Oliver Lawton took a set at No. 1 singles, Charles Lawton did the same at No. 3 singles and Andrew Neville also won one at No. 4. Otherwise, the Mounties had too much. Dan Corrao won 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 over Oliver Lawton at No. 1, Ricky D’Agostino beat Henry Coghlin 6-4, 6-4 at No. 2, Matt Zinno topped Charles Lawton 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 at No. 3, and Michael Burke beat Neville 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 at No. 4. The Mounties also won the only contested doubles match.
“The underclassmen that are going to be right here next year, they stepped up and played well,” O’Neill said. “They got to jump in and swim in a different pond. It was certainly fun.”
The older Skippers would do well to play with the same spirit in the postseason. The team will be gunning for its first championship since 2006.
“It could easily come down to us and these guys for the division,” O’Neill said. “There are a couple of other teams that are tough. If we’re a good version of ourselves, we should be able to have a pretty good run.”