After finishing their season with a 10-2 record and establishing themselves as the No. 2 ranked team in Queens, you could forgive the players on the Boys Varsity tennis team at Forest Hills High School for being overconfident.
That is not the case with this group, however. Less than a week after losing in the semifinals of the PSAL team championships, several players were back on court to compete in the singles and doubles events of the PSAL individual championships at the National Tennis Center in Flushing.
In the singles draw, Senior Stefan Ilic lived up to his No. 1 seeding by advancing to the semifinal with a 10-3 victory over teammate Jonathan Selegean. Joining him in the final four is another teammate, Senior Justin Vigunco, who advanced with a 10-4 victory over Anvar Musayeev of JFK High School.
"There are no stars on this team because every kid has bought into the team concept," said head coach Ira Wolin. "When I moved my No. 1 singles player from last year to No. 2 singles this year, he said he just wanted to do what was best for the team."
Ilic utilized a strong serve to set up control of the rallies against Selegean, who is currently the No. 3 player on the Forest Hills HS team. Although Selegean fought admirably by breaking Ilic's serve twice, the top seed hit a barrage of forehand winners to advance through to the semis.
"We've been friends for a while, but when you're out on the court, you put that aside and become rivals," said Ilic.
Vijungco raced out to an early lead against his less experienced opponent and held on to it for the rest of the contest. Using crafty spins and slices to venture into the net for winning volleys, the No. 2 seed made his JFK opponent visibly frustrated throughout the match.
"Our singles has gotten better throughout the season just by sheer practice," said Wolin. "The more matches you have, the more comfortable you are in these situations."
In the doubles event, Senior Xunlong Zhang and Sophomore Michael Jasienowski prevailed in their opening round match against Cardozo High School before falling 10-3 to the No. 3 seeds from Brooklyn Tech, Junior Mikolaj Borak and Senior Rami Chaki. Junior Kevin Roan and Senior Sergey Sayapin lost their opening match 10-0 against the Brooklyn Tech team of Sophomore Justin Selig and Senior Ilan Korchmar.
Semifinal action for Ilic and Vijungco is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. today. Ilic will play Daniel Lakhman of Francis Lewis, while Vijungco squares off against Leir Oren of Eleanor Roosevelt High School. The finals are scheduled for May 31.