Boys’ tennis blanked by Reading, come back strong against Wilmington

May 16, 2018 by

Head home for match against rival Melrose today

Published in the May 16, 2018 edition

By NOAH GREIF

READING — The boys’ tennis team gave their best effort against Liberty division opponent Reading on Thursday, May 10, but the Rockets were just too good, winning 5-0.

At second doubles, Kyle Heinold and Ryan Sullivan defeated Lucas Smith and Josh Cieniewicz 6-2, 6-0. Jack Palmer and Max South, playing first doubles, suffered a 6-2, 6-0 loss to Kyle Ventura and Mike Maloney. Johnny Stumpf, playing third singles, lost 6-4, 6-1 to Charlie Cribb. At second singles, Martin Timar was defeated by Chris Sewall 6-0, 6-3. Noah Greif lost 6-0, 6-1 to Charles Wang at first singles.

“We knew this was going to be a tough match,” head coach Cheryl Connors remarked on the loss. “The Liberty division teams are always a challenge. They have people who either play USTA or play year-round.”

JACK PALMER continued his dominance at the net against Wilmington. Palmer and Lucas Smith won at first doubles, 6-3, 6-2. (Katherine Cruise Photo)

After losing five straight matches, the Warriors snapped their streak with an efficient and well-played win in Wilmington.

“We had been having a tough stretch with some close matches where we didn’t always play our best. I knew after the weekend we could get a win against Wilmington if we played to our potential, and that’s just what we did,” said Connors.

At second doubles, Josh Cieniewicz and Ryan McCormack dominated against Wilmington’s Jared Benoit and Alex Flynn, with a final score of 6-1, 6-1. McCormack played aggressively at the net, and was able to finish off points with some nice poach shots off of the weaker Wilmington shots. Cieniewicz was able to put pace on his serve, hitting it deep in the box. He also took advantage of the weak returns at the net.

“It’s very nice to know we can have the depth when we need someone to step up,” Connors commented on the duo. “Ryan has been doing a great job of that this year, and Josh has been very consistent at second doubles.”

First doubles saw a new combination of sophomores Jack Palmer and Lucas Smith, who put together a strong, well-played match. Palmer and Smith gained some experience the day before at the State Individuals in Methuen but couldn’t get a win over fourth-seeded North Andover. But the opportunity to play together certainly helped them out in Monday’s match. Their hard work paid off for a 6-3, 6-2 win over Colby Scaplen and Owen Mitchell. Palmer and Smith contributed the win to their overpowering net play, hitting many overheads and executing put away volleys on some poachable Wilmington shots. They also hit some precise shots down the line, as their opponents cheated toward the middle.

At third singles, Johnny Stumpf continued his momentum with a routine win over Anuj Gandhi, 6-2, 6-2. Stumpf took advantage of his opponent’s inexperience, and was able to go construct some nice points.

Stumpf commented on his match opponent, saying “For a younger player, he was an extremely good. He was a consistent player, so I’m glad I could come out on top.”

Martin Timar had been struggling recently, but showed no signs of tightness.The senior played well, coming from behind in the first set, and finished strong in the second set for a 6-4, 6-2 win over Anay Gandhi. The defining factor in Timar’s match was his heavy topspin, as he pushed Gandhi well behind the baseline, especially on the backhand side. From there, Martin could used his greatest weapon, his forehand, to dictate points.

At first singles, Noah Greif had one of his best matches of the season. After a three set match against Chris Spinazola in their last meeting, Greif made quick work, with a decisive 6-2, 6-2 win. With his recent struggles, the sophomore changed his approach, and was committed to finishing off points at the net, rather than at the base line, where he feels most comfortable.

“Noah looked like a different player out there, winning a majority of his points at the net,” Connors remarked on Greif’s play. “It was nice to see an adjustment in his play.”

With the sweep of Wilmington, the Warriors improve to 6-7 on the season. Wakefield has an important match against Melrose today, where they look to rebound after they were swept in their last meeting. The netmen will face Stoneham, who they previously swept, on Thursday.

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