by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
For what seems like eons, the Hudson boys tennis team has been one of the better squads in Northeast Ohio.
The Explorers are hoping that trend continues. But they will have to do so without a certain three-time state qualifier.
Hudson finished second in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division to Solon last year. The Explorers posted a 13-7 overall record.
Hudson lost three starters from last year's team. They are Steven Boslet, a three-time state qualifier who is playing tennis at Christopher Newport University (Va.), Brian Kemper and Ben Tiemann.
Despite these losses, ninth-year head coach Tim Morgan likes what he sees.
"What I like about this year's team is that we have a mixture of experience and youth," he said. "It's going to be exciting for the guys to have a chance to come out and assert themselves and keep the Hudson tradition going."
Leading the way are junior Dominic Polifrone and senior Michael Wolowiecki, who played second and third singles, respectively, for the Explorers last year.
Polifrone is expected to play first singles, while Wolowiecki is expected to make the jump to second singles.
The duo reached Division I district play as a doubles team in 2013 and both players earned All-NOC Valley Division honors.
"Dominic has worked on his game and has gotten physically stronger," Morgan said. "And with experience, he has gained more confidence.
"Michael quietly has posted great numbers for us. He has played well in big matches."
The rest of the returning players include senior Jack Graham, who played second doubles last year, and sophomore Ari Basu.
Other players who will have the opportunities to fill the gaps of the graduating seniors are seniors Brendan Dagley and Ryan Sosinski; juniors Joe Murphy and Chris Palmann; sophomore James Douglass; and freshman Niccy Polifrone.
Morgan also believes that some junior varsity players could be in the mix for varsity spots.
Morgan's assistant coach is Janice Kampf, who has been a part of the Hudson tennis program for more than 30 years.
The Valley Division is expected to be as competitive as ever.
"We're in the mix," Morgan said. "We're going to have to develop quickly and play our best at tournament time.
"Solon will be strong and Mayfield will be strong. Medina has some players that make them a quality team. We're looking forward to a good season."
The Explorers are scheduled to make their debut at Westlake April 2 at 4 p.m.
They are set to visit Springside Racquet & Fitness Club in Akron to play Cincinnati Sycamore April 4. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
Hudson is set to compete at the St. Edward Invitational April 5 in Lakewood. Play is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.