CONCORD – Just three days removed from helping the 33rd-seeded Somerville boys tennis team capture its first-ever playoff victory against Whitman-Hanson in the Div. 2 preliminary round, senior captain William Capuano knew what lay ahead against top-seeded Concord-Carlisle in the first round on Monday.
But with graduation scheduled for later that night and a flight to Oklahoma to join the armed forces Tuesday morning, it almost didn’t even matter.
By serving as the No. 1 singles player in an eventual 5-0 loss to the Patriots in front of his family, it would be Capuano’s final match regardless before his service for the US Army Reserve began on Tuesday.
He was thrilled to play, and he was honored with a certificate of service from tennis liaison Carolyn Bohmiller.
But it was hard.
“It’s tough, the last day,” Capuano said. “Especially as the last time with my team. I already knew it was the last time with my team. … It’s really just an amazing team, and I’m so proud of all the kids that have done so much. Most of them had never played before getting here. “
It was a bittersweet moment for Capuano to conclude his high school career, shortly before rushing off to get ready for graduation. The bitter was losing in straight sets before leaving his friends and family for Oklahoma. The sweet was getting the chance to play one last time after the original scheduling almost robbed him of the chance to compete again.
A scheduling conflict almost ruined the day, but head coach Michael Morgan and a few others seized the day.
“A really easy decision,” said Concord-Carlisle athletic director Aaron Joncas. “Amongst athletic directors in the state, there’s a lot of collaboration when there’s an important moment like this. We wanted to make sure that William had the chance to compete today. I think it’s a great demonstration of sportsmanship and an important lesson for our guys. “
Capuano doesn’t have much of a family history with the armed forces, so it caught his mother, Jenn Capuano, by surprise with mixed emotions when he decided to enlist. But William, the nephew of former US Rep. Mike Capuano, said he wanted to use the experience to get help paying for his schooling at Connecticut College, as well as build a tougher, disciplined character.
So, after serving 10 weeks at boot camp, he looks to maybe play Div. 3 tennis at college while serving as a cargo specialist one weekend every month for the Army Reserve.
“People I know who had done it say it’s really tough, but it’s like the experience of your lifetime,” William said.
His mother was also in her son’s corner with emotional support – with graduation, the Army, tennis and his teammates all colliding.
“He’s a captain, he’s put in the work and he wanted to play,” she said. “This is his team. Somerville literally has two courts to play on, to practice on. How far this team has come… and Mr. Morgan has done so much for them. “