It certainly didn’t take Mike Boyle long to make a first impression.

The Delbarton junior made the audacious leap from doubles to first singles this spring and suddenly found himself up against the very best the state had to offer on an almost daily basis as the top player in the Green Wave’s singles lineup.

And Boyle never missed a beat. From the very first match of the season through the Bryan Bennett Tournament, winning the Morris County Tournament first singles title and advancing to the Round of 16 at the NJSIAA state singles tournament, is was evident from the start that the junior was completely at ease with the transition to singles and would only continue to improve during the duration of the season.

Boyle finished his first season at singles with an overall record of 25-6, winning the MCT first singles title with a straight-set victory over Morristown-Beard’s Pete Daly in the final. He also won three matches at the state singles tournament and became only the fourth Delbarton player under long-time head coach John Thompson to advance to the Round of 16.

Boyle is the 2013 All Daily Record Boys Tennis Athlete of the Year.

“I was a little nervous moving into first singles and I worked hard to prepare for the season,” Boyle said. “My goal was just to play the best tennis I could and progress my skills as the season moved along. It was tough in the beginning when my teammates would win in straight sets and my matches would go three (sets). I wanted to play the top guys in the state and give them a run.”

Boyle proved both his high skill level and his mental toughness during the long season that saw Delbarton capture its 12th consecutive Morris County Tournament team championship. In addition to compiling 25 wins, which puts him well on his way to 100 in his career, he played injured over the final three weeks of the season, missing only one match to lead a Green Wave squad depleted by injuries.

“You never really get a day off playing against top competition, that’s the biggest difference at first singles,” Boyle said. “With the injuries we had you just wanted to make sure you were ready to play every day. Every match was intense.”

One of the many places Boyle shined this season was at the Morris County Tournament, where he won the first singles title to help Delbarton slip past Montville and earn another county team championship.

“This year was a little different at the counties,” Boyle said. “As a freshman (playing doubles), we had clinched the title before the finals. This year it was a battle. We had so many young guys playing at new positions. I was really proud of how we responded to the challenge as a team.”

After Delbarton’s season ended on a somewhat disappointing note with an injury-riddled 3-2 loss to Don Bosco Prep in the Non-Public North A sectional final, Boyle turned his attention to the state singles tournament, where he was seeded 17-28 and advanced to Round of 16. On the tournament’s second day, he rallied from a set down to defeat West Orange’s Carl Wozniczka, coming from 1-4 down in the decisive 10-point tiebreaker to early a 3-6, 6-1, (10-7) victory. His run finally ended in the Round of 16 when he was beaten by Clifton’s Richard Rangga.

“You always want a run that that continue so it was disappointing when he came to an end,” Boyle said. “But it also gave me a chance to step back and look at how far I had come playing singles this year for the first time.”


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