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Seniors leading Woodridge boys tennis team into league action

5/2/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

PENINSULA — Through April 28, the Woodridge High School boys tennis team had a 5-3 record (overall and in league play), and head coach Donna Jo Reynolds said her players have shown improvement as the season has progressed.

“I feel we’re at about where I expected to be, and we even have maybe one more win than I thought,” she said. “We’re about where we should be. They’re finding their own games and strategies to win points. And double partners are learning each other better and better each match.”

The Portage Trail Conference (PTC) Tournament next week (May 8 at Ravenna High School) will be a good test for the team, Reynolds stated.

“My goal for this season is to move up a spot — from third place to second place — in the league,” she said. “The league is a little bit more open this year than in the past, but everything will have to come together for us to do it.”

This year, Woodridge features three seniors who play singles, starting at the top with Tyler Batu.

“Tyler is definitely our most experienced player,” Reynolds said. “He’s a hard worker, and he has some great shots. This is his third year playing first singles, and he faces some pretty tough competition at that position in this league. He still has a couple of pieces to his game that we’re working on, and hopefully by the PTC, if he pulls those together, he will have a chance to make it to the semifinals or the finals.”

Senior Alex Thomas is the league’s defending second singles champion from last year.

“He is doing very well this year,” the coach said. “He’s been challenged, but he has come through in most cases. His serve has really improved.”

The team’s final senior is Tim Calderwood, who plays No. 3 singles.

“Tim was a No. 1 doubles player last year, and he worked really hard over the winter to move into the third singles position,” Reynolds said. “He’s definitely secured that, as he only has one loss so far this season. Tim has a great first serve, and he just plays with a lot of heart and guts.”

The coach said her seniors have set a great example for their teammates.

“The seniors during match play worked hard and showed the underclassmen that you don’t give up — win or lose,” she said. “They’ve been good representatives for our team.”

Playing No. 1 doubles for the team this year are juniors Andrew Volchko and Carson Thomas.

“They’re proving to be a nice combination. They work well together,” Reynolds said. “Andrew had an injury, which cost us a couple of matches at that position, but he’s back and they’re very strong.”

Another of the team’s juniors, Trayton McHale, has been playing No. 2 doubles with different sophomores, including Christian Bullock and Jacob Mauk.

“That position, with Trayton, has done well. He has a great first serve,” Reynolds said. “The sophomores have done well there, too.”

A sophomore for the team, Reynolds said, is Tyler Laughorn.

“We’re sort of grooming him to be a singles player next year,” the coach stated. “He’s been playing a lot of [junior varsity] singles, and he’s played some varsity. He’s a really hard worker and very coachable. We’re looking for some good things from him in the next couple of years.”

Reynolds said she also likes what she has seen from a trio of first-year players: sophomore Gabe Ahmad and freshmen Dylan McHale and Sam Fisher.

“They’re showing a lot. They’re very coachable,” she said. “They’re making a lot of improvements in their game and in match play. I’m looking forward to watching the rest of their high school careers.”

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