by Blake Krantz
Boys’ tennis, 3-3, has “come in strong” through the first couple weeks of the season, despite the need for “more determination and development” as a group, according to senior Cameron Schoettle, a captain with seniors Owen Grafe and Jonny Levenfeld.
Early on, the Tigers faced several tough teams such as Brookline and Wellesley, competition which Grafe believes caused the team to “suffer in the standings.” The team fell 5-0 to Brookline and 4-1 to Wellesley.
Grafe explained that despite the Tigers’ record early on, “the morale of the team has not wavered,” and it will be very important for the team to “work on keeping a positive attitude out on the court.”
According to Schoettle, the Tigers have “definitely been pushing themselves,” showing that they “can be persistent even when losing.”
Schoettle said that the team has been coping with injuries and an inconsistent lineup throughout the season, something that coach Phil Goldberg also pointed to as one of the difficulties for the team thus far.
Goldberg said “the team will continue to focus on consistency in serving and returning,” as well as “working on finding the best doubles pairings available,” which has been made difficult by the early injuries.
Due to the inclimate weather and the slow start to the season, the Tigers have also struggled with the inability to practice outside for the first few weeks of the season. According to Goldberg, the unusual start “has been a challenge for [the Tigers] and everyone else.”
As for the positives he has seen so far, Goldberg pointed to players such as Grafe and senior Alex Leighton as key contributors for the team.
Goldberg sees the Tigers as a “solid team” this year, one that has been “competitive with the top teams in the league” in the first few weeks.
Going forward, Schoettle believes that “consistency of shots” should be a focus for the Tigers, as the team tended to “give away too many points” in the first four matches of the season.
Grafe summarized the Tigers’ mindset going deeper into the spring, saying that “right now [they] are striving to learn and stay mentally tough,” but as “soon as [they] get the confidence and experience [they] need,” these attributes are the ones that will create a team that can be “successful in the later stretches of the year.”
Among the team members who are benefitting most from the beginning of the season are the “new guys,” who Grafe believes will continue to “fill spots nicely” on the team with increased experience.
The Tigers next play Wellesley away today, and host Norwood Monday.