Despite Struggles, Boys Tennis Makes Tournament

Nicholas Fuller

 

A tennis player warms up with a forehand.
A tennis player warms up with a forehand.

A struggle, a losing stretch, a mid-season slump—all describe what happens to many teams who start off the season well.  Often, a team collectively starts off strong only to see itself falter mid-season, a time that is very difficult and tiring.  Still, teams who experience a mid-season-itis can recover from it by finishing off the year with momentum and strength.  Sometimes, a mid-season catastrophe wakes a team up; other times, not exactly.

Boys Tennis’s mid-season skid had been tough for a team that started off 5-0.  With the hot start came great hope, certainty for a tournament run, optimism, and confidence, but certain struggles diminished this early enthusiasm.    Yet, despite these struggles at 7-5, the team controlled its own tournament destiny, and many games remained to help them reach that goal.  On Friday, May 10 at home against Dedham, the Rebels moved further towards it:  with a 4-1 win Boys Tennis improved to 8-5 and were only one win away from making the tournament.

During the match, varsity doubles played extremely well and won convincingly.  Senior Brandon Chin noted that he although the team had struggled, he was only concentrated on the task at hand: “that is in the past.  Right now we have an opportunity to make the tournament, so that is all that matters.”  At singles, sophomore Michael Bloom and senior Alex Fraser defeated their opponents as well.  Bloom said that he knew going into the match he had to play well.  He said, “this was a match we knew we needed to win and we did.”   With the victory, the Rebels were one win away from a tournament spot.

The following week on Monday, May 13th, Boys Tennis lost at Waltham; and after rain canceled their match on Wednesday against Framingham, the Rebels played Natick at home Thursday.  With a victory, there would be no more what-if’s for the Rebels.

Having to share half the court with the Girls Tennis team that day, Boys Tennis played a long and time consuming match against Natick.  Sophomore Dan Franklin and Sophomore Scott Mclean were also moved to the third singles and second doubles respectively.  The crazy schedules with AP exams and film festival caused a few seniors to be out that day, forcing Coach Shawn Cough to reshuffle the lineup. However, despite only having three courts and missing players for a critical match against a good Natick team, the Rebels prevailed with a close victory.  A collective team effort under difficult circumstances,  the victory, noted Coach Shawn Gough, “was a great win.”

After defeating Natick Boys Tennis improved to 9-6 and solidified their tournament hopes.  While a bad mid-season skid put these very hopes in jeapordy, the Rebels accomplished what they set out to do since the beginning of the year: make the tournament.  Now, Boys Tennis hopes to win a few more matches for a higher and more attainable tournament seed.  If they can do that—and continue to end the year playing well—the Rebels could win their first tournament game in a few years, so long as injuries and other adversities do not fetter them.