Cory Norberg and his St. Raphael teammates find themselves trailing Burrillville by a 3-0 score in their Division III-North showdown, which will be concluded next week.
BURRILLVILLE -- The Dâ€™Antuono brother tandem of sophomore Mike and junior Matt wanted desperately for Burrillville High to post a spirited victory over St. Raphael Academy on Tuesday afternoon.
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They did their part, as both assembled straight-set victories over the Saintsâ€™ No. 1 and 2 representatives, seniors Sam Reinhardt and Juan Bedoya, respectively.
Perhaps a half hour after Mike had mustered a 6-1, 6-0 win over Reinhardt and Matt dispatched Bedoya, 6-1, 6-1, however, the rain became steadier, though the remaining players wanted to continue their assaults on winning.
Just 15 minutes after, Burrillville head coach Josh LaDuke and SRA mentor Steve Clements chose to postpone the event, with the Broncos leading, 3-0, until the two squads meet up again at Vets Park in Pawtucket on Wednesday, May 16, at 4:15 p.m.
If the schoolsâ€™ two athletic directors OK the preliminary plan, the Broncos and Saints will continue the postponed match, then face off in their regularly-scheduled event.
The only other victory to be recorded came at No. 4 singles, when junior Tyler Degnan edged senior Cory Norberg, 7-6 (3), 6-3.
The four matches still in action include Burrillville senior Dominik Stramaâ€™s bout with sophomore Hyungi Lee at No. 3 singles; and the three doubles contests.
The Broncosâ€™ No. 1 duo of senior Mike Tomson and sophomore Kamil Strama is taking on Saintsâ€™ seniors Lucas Pavao and Nick Micrulis; the No. 2 pairing of senior Anthony Greeno and junior Heather Gilpatrick is facing SRA seniors Christian Micrulis and Jaron Keough; and the No. 3 tandem of junior Elizabeth Rogers and senior Ella Perry is battling the Saintsâ€™ junior Ben Mello and senior Alex Wisniewski.
Burrillville entered the Division III-North showdown with a 6-1 mark, and SRA 5-1.
â€śThis is the first time weâ€™ve faced St. Rayâ€™s this year, and I didnâ€™t know much about them, except that theyâ€™re pretty good,â€ť said Mike Dâ€™Antuono, now a perfect 8-0 on the spring, as the rains began pelting the courts and his teammates continued play. â€śI had heard (Reinhardt) was pretty good, but I figured if I was consistent and played my game, Iâ€™d come out with a win.
â€śMy serve was on, and I hit my backhand really well,â€ť he added. â€śActually, the backhand was OK, too. (Reinhardt) made a few unforced errors, and my goal was to take advantage of them, not give up any of my own.â€ť
Brother Matt also stayed unbeaten at 8-0.
â€śIâ€™d say everything was pretty solid,â€ť he noted. â€śI didnâ€™t hit the ball as hard as I wouldâ€™ve liked, but I was consistent, and Iâ€™ll take it. I double-faulted a couple of times in the games I lost, which irritated me, but I just shook them off.
â€śMike and I are close to each other in terms of age and talent, so I know he can play No. 1, but I think I can, too,â€ť he continued. â€śI actually beat Sam (Reinhardt, 6-1, 6-2) at the Division III state qualifier (at Cranston West High) on Sunday, so I figured if I could beat their No. 1, then Iâ€™d be fine against their No. 2 (Bedoya).â€ť
The Dâ€™Antuonos well remember dropping a 4-3 decision to Exeter/West Greenwich in a D-III state team tourney preliminary match last season, and indicated they didnâ€™t like the fact they were dismissed so soon.
â€śWe didnâ€™t lose that many seniors to graduation last year, and I knew we had myself and Mike coming back,â€ť Matt stated. â€śWe also knew we had some good doubles players who could fill in at the singles spots.
â€śWeâ€™re older now, and I want to win this year,â€ť he added. â€ś(Capturing the divisional crown) is between us, St. Rayâ€™s and North Smithfield, and in order to be the Nos. 1 or 2 seeds for the playoffs, I think we have to win out (the rest of the campaign). Weâ€™ve already split with North Smithfield, so a couple of wins against St. Rayâ€™s would be huge.â€ť