By BRIAN JENNINGS
Head Coach—Mercurio Evangelista, entering 4th season.
Overall Coaching Record—14-33.
2016 Overall Record—6-10 (5-5 home, 1-5 away).
2016 CCC South Region Record—4-5.
2016 CCC South White Division Record—2-2 (4th/5 teams).
2016 Class S Tournament:
First Round—Jason Feng, Old Lyme, def. Jarod Romankiw, Plainville, 6-0, 6-4.
2016 State Open—DNQ.
Graduated (4 seniors)—Joey Chacho, Peter Lawson, Jarod Romankiw, and Joey Slivinsky.
2017 Team Captains:
Brandon Mello—Senior, Singles.
Wei Yuan—Senior, Doubles.
Other Key Returners:
Ethan Hushin—Senior, Doubles.
RJ Miller—Senior, Doubles.
Tyler Oakes—Senior, Doubles.
Taegan Brochu—Junior, Doubles.
Jeremy Myska—Junior, Doubles.
Emmanuel Yawin—Junior, Doubles.
Brandon Zheng—Sophomore, Singles.
Sam Lynes—Senior, Singles/Doubles.
Juan Torres—Senior, Doubles.
Caleb Wells—Senior, Singles.
Mauej Vosseth—Junior, Singles.
Travis Livigne—Freshman, Singles/Doubles.
Jarod Serrano-Aviles—Freshman, Singles/Doubles.
The Observer asked Mercurio Evangelista the following questions about the upcoming season:
Observer—What were your overall thoughts about last year? What did the team/program accomplish or gain?
Evangelista—I think we’re getting better. Sometimes it doesn’t show up in the wins and losses column, unfortunately. But even I and my style of coaching have gotten better.
Observer—What can be taken from last season into this season?
Evangelista—It’s kind of tough because every year is like a brand new team. We’ve never been that deep talent-wise. It seems like every town has at least one top player, and we really haven’t been able to develop that yet. I take the brunt of the blame because I need to get a feeder program going. But my kids, for the most part, played one-person round robin all summer. They were a lot better about playing in the offseason with each other.
Observer—What are the keys to having a successful team/program for the upcoming season?
Evangelista—If Brandon Mello and Brandon Zheng are successful this year, we’ll be successful. It’s going to be pretty much on their shoulders because they both have the skill sets. But they’re going to have to get some wins when they’re not expecting them. If they pull some upsets here and there, I think the rest of the team will pull their weight and do what they need to do during those matches.
Observer—What are the team’s strengths?
Evangelista—They all get along and have a good team concept. They have a good work ethic.
Observer—What stands out or is different, interesting, and unique about this team?
Evangelista—On paper, the doubles should do better than our singles. The one and two spots in singles across the state are usually very strong.
Observer—What does the team have to work on or improve most to be prepared for the upcoming season?
Evangelista—Experience. That’s always been a problem here. They just need to play a lot and get game experience.
Observer—Why should people follow the team?
Evangelista—These kids put a lot of work into it. We’re only going to get better if we get people to watch and talk about the program, getting some enthusiasm in with the younger kids in town. I do see it, and it’s starting to happen.
Observer—If you had to headline the upcoming season, what would it be?
Evangelista—Plainville will be unpredictable just like the snow.