Tuesday, May 20, 2008

WHS Boys Tennis Team Goes 5-13

The WHS Boys Tennis team wanted to finish statistically higher in 2008 than they did in 2007. The end result: 5 wins in 2008 as opposed to the 4 in 2007. The Warriors graduated a handful of players in 2007, but enough 2008 players were able to step up their games and prove that this year's crop of players were a bit better.
In the pre-season many positions were fiercely up for grabs. With the likes of Joe Flynn, Tom Flynn, Adam Kuks, Mike Staffiere, and Dan Muise gone, the two doubles (first and second) positions opened up in addition to a few JV spots. First, for singles, co-Captain Jason Parad played 12 games at first singles. Last year, Parad played 17 at first singles as a junior. Parad was over-matched at times by some of the State's best talent, but he still consistently won games. He finished with 38% of his games won. Brian Hurley played most of his matches at second singles, which is actually quite a remarkable feat considering he only played 5 varsity matches as a sophomore in 2007. At first, Hurley had a tough time acquainting himself with the singles scene, but he was able to win a few matches and finished with 32% of his games won. At third singles was junior Glen Maganzini. Maganzini played almost every match in 2007 one spot ahead at second singles. The change was a good thing for Maganzini as he finished with 38% of his games won (up from 34%).
Doubles was a different cup of coffee for the Warriors. New tandems were formed (and eventually changed) at the start of the season. Sophomores Steve Parad and Rex Lam played a majority of the season together at first doubles. They didn't do all that great together (save a tough 6-4, 6-4 win over Stoneham) and were eventually paired with other players. Lam and Mike Slafsky, a senior co-Captain, played about three matches with each other and they too squeaked out a win over Stoneham. For many of his other matches, Slafsky played alongside junior Derek Krevat. Slafsky and Krevat, without a doubt, formed one of the best doubles tandems that WHS has seen in recent years. Along with a couple of wins, they played extremely hard against top teams such as Burlington and Belmont. Krevat finished with the highest individual games won percentage, proving that him and his partners got the job done on a fairly regular basis. Chris Fanikos was also in the mix as a doubles player. At first, he played next to Krevat and they played quite well together at second doubles. During the second half of the season, Fanikos' partner was senior Kevin Dwyer-Heidkamp. Heidkamp missed a lot of time during the middle season and initially he couldn't find a groove. His game quickly picked up over the latter half of the season; Fanikos and KDH secured an easy 6-3, 6-3 defeat over Watertown in the second to last game of the season. Another player who was hard working and unrelenting was sophomore Dan Liberfarb. Liberfarb made his varsity debut at first doubles with Rex Lam on April 18th against Woburn, the worst team in the Middlesex League. Then, four days later, Liberfarb and Steve Parad literally come out of nowhere to beat the best team in the state, Winchester, in a third set tiebreaker. Ryan Coburn, a junior, like KDH missed many a game during the season, but when he played, he usually did so very well. He had a JV team high of 48% games won, but this was only in his 62 games of play. Two sophomores, Brian Li and Ryan Suh, also got some varsity experience. Li and Suh played together against Winchester (varsity debut for both), but lost 0-6, 1-6. Li played the next day against Watertown alongside Coburn and they were able to win in a lengthy three setter.
What does the future hold for the WHS Boys tennis team? For one, they will be without the older Parad -- the team's top player for two years straight. It will also be tough to replace Slafsky, a doubles mainstay for the past three seasons. KDH was not only a solid doubles player, but simply one of the nicer guys on the team with his illegal license plate, wide framed shades, and his tennis shoes...er loafers. For sure one player will be "gained" and that is Prateek. Prateek, a junior, was off to a pretty amazing start to the season until he suffered an injury to his leg in an early pre-season practice. Prateek surely would have been a varsity player had he not gone down. With that said, the Warriors have a lot to look forward to in 2008. With ten varsity players returning, WHS will hope to increase its winning trend in 2009. Teams like Stoneham and Melrose will be losing, at the minimum, three varsity players a piece to graduation in 2008. Could the Warriors improve their record to 6-12, 7-11, or 8-10? Without a doubt.

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