Xavier racket men are hoping to make a net gain

The Xavier High School tennis team, from left, Vincent Tozzi, Gianluca Milea, Liam Cooney, Jose Agregado, Owen Sterling, Peter McKee, Andrew Arabian, Brando Cristofoli, Coach Michael Mulé, Hank Michels and Xavier President John Raslowsky.

The Xavier High School tennis team, from left, Vincent Tozzi, Gianluca Milea, Liam Cooney, Jose Agregado, Owen Sterling, Peter McKee, Andrew Arabian, Brando Cristofoli, Coach Michael Mulé, Hank Michels and Xavier President John Raslowsky.

BY ROBERT ELKIN  |  In terms of athletics, Xavier High School is known for its rugby, basketball, football and track teams.

Like many Manhattan schools, for outdoor sports, there is usually travel involved to get to fields, court and running courses.

For instance, Xavier’s tennis team practices in Astoria Par, in Queens.

Xavier is in Division A of the Catholic High School Athletic Association, along with such powerhouses as St. Francis Prep of Queens, Fordham Prep of the Bronx, and Iona Prep of New Rochelle, in Westchester.

Tennis is a small program at Xavier, with only 10 players on the team.

“We have a lot of guys at Xavier who are a Lower East Side and Stuyvesant Town guys,” said Michael Mulé, the team’s head coach. “Their dads and uncles are a lot of LaSalle High School guys. It would be nice if LaSalle had a tennis team, but it doesn’t.”

Last year Xavier’s tennis team posted a 2-7 record. Their won-lost record has been like this for a number of years.

Similarly, the team general carries a small roster of 10 players each year, said Mulé, who is a Xavier alumnus.

“For the most part, there are guys who do it as their only sport,” Mulé noted. “Even though tennis at Xavier feels like it’s a minor sport, it is a high-level commitment sport for the guys who do it.

“We are drawing from a pool of kids who have tennis backgrounds or whose families have been playing tennis,” he said.

At the same time, he noted, in the end, academics are, and should be, the priority.

“We tend to have a very, very good record with the grades our guys have and colleges they are getting into,” he said.

One of Xavier’s tennis players is Vin Tozzi, who will be attending New York University-Stern School of Business come September. However, he hasn’t decided if he will continue to play the net sport in college.

“I’ll talk to the N.Y.U. coach,” said Tozzi, who is completing his fourth year playing high school tennis. “I’ll see what college tennis is like. I was given a full academic ride, but did not get anything for tennis.”

After the current season, Tozzi’s first concern is to focus on his studies in college.

“Tennis is a great sport but it is more of a hobby for me,” he said.

“Last year he got a few wins for us at first singles,” the coach added. “It was tough for him because he played against a lot of first singles players.”

This season, Xavier’s tennis team has gotten off to a slow start and so has Tozzi. As of this article’s writing, the team had not won a match in five outings.

“He’ll end up with some wins,” Mulé assured of his top player.

Tozzi has only captured one singles match this season, a victory over a player from Iona Prep. He hopes to enter into the Mayor’s Cup to close out his high school career.

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