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Green boys tennis team ‘stronger, more consistent’

5/1/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

GREEN — The Green High School boys tennis team is out to a 7-3 overall start, including a 3-3 mark in the Suburban League, and head coach Jan Hicks said she has been “very encouraged” by the team’s performance thus far.

“Our strength this year is the team attitude and determination. We are not a powerhouse team, but the guys know they have to give 100 percent in every match — and especially against those teams that are similar to ours in overall ability,” she said. “We just need to stay focused on our end goal, which is to have a winning season and do well at the sectionals tournament.”

According to Hicks, this year’s team is “definitely stronger, more consistent and more focused” than last year’s squad.

“We have five returning varsity players, but we changed the lineup around a little from last season, which I feel has helped the team win in some close matches,” she said. “This is a veteran team, and I have to admit that with four seniors on varsity, I was a little worried about ‘senioritis’ infecting the team. However, these seniors have been motivated going into each match and have been great at supporting teammates in challenging matches.”

The seniors on this year’s team (with comments on each by the coach) are:

  • Tommy Saunders, first singles: “He is a four-year letterman and is the team captain this year. Tommy gives 100 percent in every match, but, more importantly, he exemplifies sportsmanship in the game of tennis. He is gracious in his wins and losses, and he leads by example for the rest of the team.”
  • Tyler Fehr, second singles: “His approach to his game is much more mature this year, and he is gaining confidence with each match. He is putting together great points, and it is exciting to see him closing in on the net and ending points with aggressive volleys.”
  • Isaac Lampner, third singles: “He has won some tough three-set matches that helped the team get the ‘W.’ One of the things I admire most about Isaac is how he always compliments his opponents when they hit a great shot. His on-court sportsmanship does the Bulldogs proud.”
  • Kenny Cozby, second doubles: “Kenny only joined the team last year and played [junior varsity] most of the season. Kenny has a lot of potential to be a great player; I just wish we had had him for all four years. He has a big serve that gets away from him sometimes, but he works hard every day to improve his game, and I appreciate that effort.”

Playing second doubles with Cozby is Shazid Asif, Green’s youngest varsity player.

“He has an all-court game,” Hicks stated, “or, as team captain Saunders would say, ‘a bag of tricks.’”

Green’s first doubles team this year is comprised of John Moresea and Clay Hammes.

“They were reluctant to move into the No. 1 doubles spot this year, as they didn’t think they were strong enough to win at that level with only one year of varsity experience,” the coach said. “I challenged them to be more aggressive and smart on the court, and so far they have have done well, with only three losses.”

Hicks is in her 10th year with the Bulldog tennis program, including the last seven seasons as the boys varsity coach.

“This is my final season coaching at Green High School, as I am moving out of the state in June,” she said. “It has been my privilege to coach some outstanding boys and girls — and I don’t mean just their tennis ability. We have had only a couple of our players go on to play tennis at the college level, but it is fulfilling to know all these kids will have the skills necessary to play tennis for the rest of their lives, and hopefully pass on this great sport to the next generation. I am sorry that we never got tennis courts at Green High School during my tenure as coach, but hopefully the school district and the city will see the value of having a tennis facility for the students and the community.”

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