Phoenix Tennis Ends Regular Season with Win vs Fryeburg

Hyde School          5

Fryeburg Academy  0

We made the long journey to Fryeburg Academy on Saturday, May 14 for our rematch with the 0-6 Raiders at Camp Forest Acres for Girls. The mosquitoes were out, but did not prevent the players from putting forth their best effort.

First Singles (win)

                Connor Gray          4              6              6

                Harry Yan                6              0              0

Second Singles (win)

                Michael Siben        6              6

Kevin Kim               1               1

Third Singles (win)

                John Westmoreland   6             6

                Jake Zhu                       0             1

First Doubles (win)

                Duncan O’Rourke & Henry Tao      6         6

                Alex Liu & Jason Huang                    1         1

Second Doubles (win)

                Tony Fu & Shawn Shao      6             6

                Matthew Liu & Allen Ma        1             0

Highlights;

Connor Gray ’17 showed the full range of his potential in this match. He started off distracted, watching balls he seemed to think might be going out land just inside the baseline, and reacting too slowly to return them. Having beaten his opponent handily in his first match of the season, Connor was too casual out there. The reality is that Fryeburg’s #1 is playing much better tennis than he was earlier in the season, and Connor was going to have to take him seriously in order to win the match. Facing 3 set points at 5-4, 40-love, Connor started to elevate his game, and he was able to battle back to deuce, only to succumb to a subsequent set point. We had a good conversation between sets, and Connor went out like a completely different player. Humbled, Connor seemed determined to set the record straight. Gone were his soft floaters, short in the middle of the court. In their place were penetrating drives landing just inside sidelines, or the baseline, and setting up winner after winner. Connor played practically flawless tennis in the second and third sets — against a worthy opponent. It will be interesting to see whether Connor can find this groove again in the MAISAD tournament. If so, he will be a real force to contend with.

Playing at #2, Michael Siben ’17 was an absolute gentleman on the court. Recognizing that his opponent was not equipped to handle the pace of his groundstrokes, Michael made a point of engaging in rallies with his opponent without condescending to him. I am proud of the sportsmanship Michael displayed. The same thing can be said for John Westmoreland ’17 who cruised to an easy victory at #3. John was very sensitive to the situation, and offered his opponent a match from which he could learn and grow. John knew what to do instinctively, and like Michael, he represented himself and our school very well.

Fryeburg came to our first match with only five players, not enough to field two proper doubles teams. Happily, they were able to recruit two additional players over the course of the season so we had two proper doubles matches. At #1 senior Duncan O’Rourke ’16 and sophomore Henry Tao ’18 teamed up for a decisive victory. The mood on the court was very friendly, but it was the #2 doubles match, played by Tony Fu ’19 and another senior Shawn Shao ’16, that was punctuated by happy outbursts from both sides. As Coach Smith observed, “I have no idea what they are saying, but I can tell that they’re having a great time!” Again, Tony and Shawn were facing a team of two beginners, and they handled this with aplomb. They understood that this was a competitive situation, but that the outcome was never in doubt, and the most important thing was to make the match a positive experience for everyone.

I cannot imagine a better way to end our regular season than with this victory against the oxymoronically congenial “Raiders” of Fryeburg. This afternoon, Wednesday, May 17th, we will begin the MAISAD tournament at Hebron Academy. All of our players have improved dramatically over the course of the season so it will be fun to see how they match up against their peers from Gould, Kents Hill and Hebron, as well as Fryeburg.

Coach Weymar