Apponequet boys’ tennis ready to serve up playoff wins

May 24, 2023

LAKEVILLE — Holding a 16-1 win-loss record with the state tournament around the corner, Apponequet Regional High School’s boys’ tennis team feels confident this season and for the future.

Having the Lakeville Athletic Club in town helps develop the talent on the team, Head Coach Nathan Eleuterio said. But more than anything, the coach credits the team’s attitude for its success.

“Their mindset is that losing is not OK,” Eleuterio said during a practice before the team’s last regular-season contest ahead of the state tournament. “They want to win, they’re really determined, and they’re competitive with each other, and I think they keep each other wanting to get better every time.”

The Apponequet Lakers won their first eight contests without losing a match. In high school tennis, there are five matches in an overall contest between two schools: Three singles matches and two doubles matches.

The Lakers went 16-2 in last year’s regular season, and with one senior on the current team, the team is set up for success over the next few years.

Apponequet picked up two wins against each of Joseph Case High School, West Bridgewater High School, and Somerset-Berkley High School. Other notable wins came against Dartmouth High School, New Bedford High School, and Seekonk High School. 

Their first loss happened in the 17th match of the season, against Dartmouth. 

The Lakers beat Dartmouth 5-0 on April 25. Apponequet’s top singles player Will Horton suffered an injury in the May 22 rematch, which Dartmouth won 3-2.

“It was almost relieving to get the loss out of the way so there’s not as much pressure to be undefeated,” Eleuterio said.

Apponequet has one more contest in the regular season, on Wednesday, May 24 against Old Rochester Regional High School, who the Lakers beat earlier in the season on May 11.

When asked about the team’s goals for the state playoffs, Nate Belmore, one of the team’s top singles players who is in his junior year at Apponequet, took a measured approach. He would like to see the Lakers do better than last season, when they qualified for the round of 16.

Eleuterio agrees: “Last year we did decently well in the tournament. We’re looking to hopefully make it at least another round further.”

Horton, on the other hand, immediately said he’d like to see the team “win it all.”

Either way, the Lakers are aiming high and playing strong tennis.