Tennis: 2011

Joe Cristo

Grace Borhart

3: 31 on a Monday afternoon; players are lined up down the half court line playing “mini tennis,” practicing volleys, working on form. Coach Barry Wells walks up and down the backs of courts, neon orange racket in hand, watching. Every so often he stops by a player.

     “Chris, what do I talk about all during the girls season? Topspin.You need topspin, topspin, topspin.” He demonstrates the stroke once .

     Senior Chris Clavero mimics his movements twice slowly and deliberately, keeping his eyes on his arm.

     “Good.” Wells takes one step away, still watching Clavero’s movements as he hits a two or three volleys. “That’s better, keep working.” Satisfied, he moves on to the next court, starting with senior Brendan Bozic.

     “Brendan, I want to see you get five in a row with good form…

     “It’s good but it would be better if…”

     As the boys tennis season begins, the focus is working on form, the fundamentals.

     Every day, practice officially begins at 3 o’clock; however by 2:45 p.m., the courts are already filled with members of the 56-person team warming up, with more trickling in by the minute.

     Practices led by Wells and assistant coach Kate Feinstein begin and end with stretching and conditioning to give extra attention to improving the fundamentals of each player.

     “Right now we’re working on getting our footwork and timing back because most of the players haven’t played much in the off season. Getting back into tennis shape,” said Wells. “Most of the players are in shape, but in shape and in tennis shape are different.  That takes a while”

     The goal is progress, as it has always been. The team ended last year with a record of 9-11, and hopes to advance their record further this year. Even with the loss of six seniors from last season, the team is still 16 seniors strong to draw leadership from this year

     “This is the most seniors we’ve ever had,” said Wells. “A lot of them have been playing on varsity since they were sophomores. We were a very young team back then, but now we’ve got that experience. That’s going to be a big advantage this year.”

     This experience is helpful in knowing what to expect in matches, and also is playing a key role in practices.

     “A lot of the seniors have been in tennis all four years so they can provide some guidance,” said senior Cory Bockenhauer, “like when we were learning to serve last Friday, the seniors would go around and help the first year kids get correct form.”

     The younger team members are proving promising as well.

     “There are a lot of good juniors coming up, which means a lot more competition at the fourth doubles and third singles spot, which means better depth this year too,” said senior Brendan Bozic.

     The varsity’s season is soon to kick off with their first official game on March 29 at Woodstock North.

     “Our team is looking strong for a win,” said Bockenhauer.  “Everybody is pumped and ready for [the first match].”

     The team is looking forward to a good season.

     “Our program’s come a long way,” said Wells. “We’ve got great numbers out this year, [there’s] good young talent and some great senior leadership.”

 

Players to watch:

Tanner Novalinski: A junior that continually practiced in the off-season, competed in sectionals last year, is considered the top player on the team.

Brendan Bozic: Won Richmond tournament in doubles with Francis Ramirez last year, starter this year.

Post Author: Joe Cristo. Joe loves music, movies and TV, go figure. He has an eclectic mix of musical tastes from Amy Winehouse to The Strokes. He loves Woody Allen movies and Seinfeld. Follows sports and has an amazing fantasy team. His favorite subjects include history and English.