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Mustang tennis making a run at conference title
Published in the May 02, 2012 issue
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Ocean City — The Mainland Regional High School boys tennis team has had a doubles team in the finals of the Cape Atlantic League tournament four of the last six years.
Doug Moglia was part of the doubles team that lost to Middle Township last year. He and Ben Brezel, who has since graduated, came up just short.
This year, Moglia, a senior, was back in the finals, this time with a freshman as a partner, Ryan Pangilinan. They left with the championship.
“It’s great. I’m happy for the boys,” said Mainland coach Chris Connolly. “Doug’s been there two years in a row. This is his second year. They lost last year to Middle, who had a really good team.
“It was nice to see a freshman and a senior work together and really perform well.”
The duo was 10-0 on the season after beating Ocean City last Wednesday, April 25.
“It’s nice to know it’s pretty much a secured point at first doubles,” Connolly said. “They are leading the way.”
“Last year I made it to the finals with Ben (Brezel),” Moglia said. “It felt a lot better (this year) because we lost last year. We wanted to redeem that loss this year and it worked out well.”
Moglia thought the difference was the doubles team the duo beat this year wasn’t quite as good as the Middle Township team.
He and Pangilinan beat Atlantic City’s Lane Bangis and Taimoor Hussain in the finals, 6-1, 6-1.
Moglia said the chemistry between the Mainland partners works because he is better at the net and Pangilinan is “really good at the baseline.”
Pangilinan said despite his being new the team, he isn’t new to his partner. The two of them played together at clinics before the season started.
He added the win “feels pretty good, awesome actually.”
The freshman may have come into the tournament with something to prove. His two older brothers, Carlo Pangilinan and Van Homer Pangilinan, both first singles players for the Mustangs, each won three CAL singles championships.
Pangilinan and Moglia have more on their minds.
“We want to be undefeated and win South Jerseys,” Moglia said. As a team, he added, “We want to win our conference.”
Pangilinan agreed with his partner’s goals, wanting to help themselves and their team.
Mustangs 4-1 after
defeating Ocean City
Mainland only had five matches in by the middle of last week. The Mustangs won four of them, including last Wednesday’s close match against Ocean City.
Coach Connolly said his team should have had seven matches in by the time they faced the Raiders.
Connolly is pleased with how his team is coming along this season and sees three teams, including his, vying for the conference title.
“I thought there were going to be four teams vying for the conference. I thought Atlantic City was going to have the best option. Now they have one loss in the conference,” Connolly said. “Vineland, I thought, was going to be very competitive and they have one loss in the conference and we have one loss in the conference.
“The fourth team I thought was going to be strong was Ocean City; they came out of the gate strong. It’s a matter of time that they get back on the winning side, but hopefully not today (since they were playing Ocean City at the time).
The Mustangs beat Ocean City 3-2 with one match that went three sets.
Raider first singles Zack Shutz topped Mainland’s Ehan Fischer, 6-4, 7-5. Mainland’s Chris Nazha came back to beat Nathan Roberts after losing the first set 7-5. He topped Roberts in a close tiebreaker 7-6 (11-9), then closed out the third set 6-2.
Raider Lucas Baker beat Mustang Alex Nhan 6-3, 6-1 to give Ocean City its second point, but it wasn’t enough as the Mainland doubles teams dominated.
At first doubles, Mainland’s Moglia and Pangilinan beat Ocean City seniors Ben Weisberg and Tim DeRosa, 6-2, 6-1. At second doubles, Mustangs Josh Margolis and Chris Sartain won 6-2, 6-0 over Ocean City’s Dan Loggi and Chris Gorski.
“Our singles have been playing well,” Connolly said. “Their real test was against Vineland, where they swept us at singles. We have to get a little more consistent. We’ve got the skill and we’ve got the work ethic, it’s just getting consistent points together.”
Fischer and Nazha are returning starters at singles. Alex Nhan is new. “Alex is just a good athlete. He really worked hard in the off-season,” Connolly said.
Besides his CAL-topping first singles, Margolis returned to his spot at second doubles from last year and has partnered with Chris Sartain. “They’re playing real well. They did well against Vineland and I hope they can do well today. He (Sartain) and Ryan (Pangilinan) are the two new varsity guys.”
The Mustangs were playing Atlantic City Tuesday afternoon as the Sentinel sports section went to press. They are traveling to Mooretown today and host Millville at 4 p.m. Thursday. The two CAL matches could help determine the conference champion.