Coming up empty

Alpena boys tennis blanked by Traverse City West

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena’s Josh Pokorzynski returns a ground stroke during a No. 3 singles tennis match on Tuesday at Alpena High School. The Wildcats were blanked by Big North Conference foe Traverse City West 8-0.

The Alpena boys tennis team was aware they were going to have their hands full on Tuesday when it played host to Big North Conference foe Traverse City West.

Despite falling by a score of 8-0, Alpena coach Charlie Giordano continues to see improvement in his team and knows they are working hard to get better at the right time.

“I was happy with how my kids competed. West always comes out strong and I know they always have solid players who definitely spend time on their game during the offseason,” Giordano said. “We’re to the point where our kids are little bit better, but we’re still playing people that are above us at times. I just tell my kids to go out and have a good time and don’t worry about the end result. If they can find the balance between having fun and being serious they will continue to improve and things will be good.”

Alec Paulsell lost at No. 1 singles by scores of 6-2 and 6-3. Nehemia Rao fell at No. 2 singles 6-1 and 6-1. Josh Pokorzynski battled, but fell 6-3 and 6-0. Ashawin Chhapomohan was defeated at No. 4 singles 6-0 and 6-1.

“We have shown tremendous improvement. Some of the kids have started off brand new and not sure what they’re doing, while others have taken lessons, but haven’t played a lot of competitive tennis,” Giordano said. “To play strong teams like we have this season, it really helps us because you see better tennis. At times we know our opponents are better than us, but we’re not quitting or giving up, we’re just working hard the entire time and that’s nice to see.”

Garrett Dickey and Logan Pinger lost at No. 1 doubles 6-0 and 6-1. Dean Kowalewsky and Hunter O’Neil fell at No. 2 doubles 6-0 and 6-1 and Harrison Butch and Brett Bonifas were defeated at No. 3 doubles by scores of 6-0 and 6-0.

Alpena travels to Traverse City tomorrow to take on Traverse City Central in their final matchup before the Big North Championships.

“Having to play two top teams like both Traverse Cities before we head into the BNC will be huge for us. When we play these tough teams and conference next week, even we don’t win, we still go to regionals and we’re much more competitive with a majority of the teams there,” Giordano said. “We generally get more wins at regionals than we do all year because we see weaker teams than what we played against all year in our conference. Because we play in such a tough conference, it gets us ready for our region.”

Jonny Zawacki can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5690.