At the start of last season, it wasn't clear if John D'Alessandro would ever be able to get over the hump and win a CHSAA boys tennis singles title.
But today he's a two-time champion.
The St. Anthony's senior defeated Chaminade's Cameron Posillico, 6-3, 6-1, to win his second consecutive CHSAA singles championship Monday at Hofstra, making up for the two defeats he suffered in the title match as a freshman and sophomore.
"There was a lot of pressure this year with me being a senior and it being my last high school match, so I wanted the win,'' D'Alessandro said. "It's a nice feeling to . . . go out with this.''
Said St. Anthony's coach Rich Roslund, "That is quite an accomplishment. I've been doing this for a while, and being there in the final four times in a row, it doesn't happen often. Being able to get there first as a freshman and for him to finish up these last two years with wins, I'm really happy for him.''
The Boston University-bound D'Alessandro appeared calm and solid from the start, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first set. In the second set, he again earned a break in the first service game and took a 4-1 lead when he broke again, using well-timed lobs and sliced backhands to set up attacks with his commanding forehand.
"My forehand is my power weapon so when I have the opportunity to dictate with it I just put as much as I can on it,'' D'Alessandro said. "He was pressuring my backhand a lot and I was just bringing points back to neutral with my slice, and I used my service game to set up my forehand.''
D'Alessandro went undefeated in CHSAA play this season and led St. Anthony's to the team title. That, he said, is one of the reasons why this year's individual title was more memorable than last season's.
"This one definitely feels better,'' he said. "With me being a senior, and just the whole team aspect of it too, with us winning the championship this year adds to the feeling.''
In the doubles final, Chaminade's Brendan Harney and Jack Moriarty defeated St. Anthony's Chris Granito and Robby Falvo, 6-4, 6-1. Harney and Moriarty, both juniors, won their first title in their first varsity season.
"We were on JV last year and it was nerve-wracking in the beginning, but once we got the lead we got more comfortable,'' Harney said. "We played only a few matches together before the tournament, but we're good friends and we feed off each other well.''