Alpena tennis shows marked improvement in loss to TC West

The Alpena boys tennis team faced Traverse City West on Tuesday in its second home meet of the season, and although the Wildcats lost 5-3, coach Charlie Giordano saw a lot of positive progress for his team.

“We did real well today. Taking three sets from Traverse City West is huge for us. We’ve never taken more than two from them. I think it’ll help give the boys some confidence to win some more this year,” Giordano said.

The Wildcats played in temperatures that neared 100 degrees throughout the day, leading No. 4 singles Gregory Kucharek to retire in his second set, after dropping his first 4-6.

“I know it was at least 97 off the court and I can’t even imagine what it was like on. Greg played well tonight but got too hot. He tried to finish his set, but had trouble playing,” Giordano said.

The Wildcats’ singles players picked up two of Alpena’s wins. No. 1 singles Abram Purol won both of his sets, the first 6-4 and the second 6-1 to take his match. No. 2 Andre Gagnon also won his match, going 6-0 in his first set and 6-3 in his second.

No. 3 Aaron DeCaire nearly won his match and got a lot of encouragement from his teammates, but dropped his first set 5-7 and his second 4-6.

The doubles teams had little luck, with only No. 1 doubles Samyak Harsh and Noah Barney-Steinke picking up a win. They lost their first set 1-6, but won the second 6-2 to force a tie-breaker. They then won a tight 7-5 set to pick up the win.

“Samyak and Noah did a great job tonight. They’ve been playing together about two years now, and they understand each other and know how to play well together. They continue to get better each time we play,” Giordano said.

No. 2 doubles Ben Goren and Wyatt Hanna struggled against the Titans, losing both sets 0-6. No. 3 doubles David Resnick and John Chen lost both their sets 1-6, while No. 4 doubles Patrick Connon and Cameron Decaire lost both sets 0-6.

Players such as Purol, Gagnon, Harsh and Barney-Steinke are veterans of the Alpena tennis team, and are playing their last year for the team.

“We have eight seniors and they really understand the game well. Their experience is going to be hard to replace, but they’ll play as long as they can, and pick up as many wins as possible,” Giordano said.

Alpena travels to Traverse City Central on Thursday.

Eric Benac can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.