The boys’ tennis team is off to a great start this year despite having to battle the early season rain, snow and ice.
Up one singles set and poised to win five of six sets against VES last Friday, the boys’ tennis team seemed on the verge of completing a match.
“We were so excited to be playing an actual match after four days of practice,” said Coach Robert Robillard.
Then an ominous cloud covered the courts with a quarter inch of rain in 15 minutes and the teams left the match incomplete knowing they would have to find some time in the increasingly crowded weeks before playoffs.
After another rain out on Tuesday, the team will have to play eight matches in the next two weeks to complete its mandatory schedule before conference playoffs in the first week of May.
Like most teams this spring, tennis has faced less time in practice and more match cancellations than most years. Nevertheless, the team is 2-0, and owns the No. 1 ranking in VISAA Div. II.
The team made good use of the gym early in the season, keeping in shape by playing pickle ball – a game somewhat similar to tennis – and spinning with coach Robillard.
“We all get in the spin room, and work out hard to loud music,” Robillard said. “The boys hoot and holler a lot. Indoor days make the court time more special.”
Once the boys were able to hit the tennis courts it was all business. Their first BRC match was a tough one as they faced last year’s Virginia Independent Conference (VIC) champions: Covenant. Despite windy conditions the team scored an impressive 7-2 win over the six-time state champions. Campbell Bloomfield (‘18) and Daniel Habib (‘18) scored important wins at singles five and six to help secure the victory for the team.
“These two freshman have really stepped up this year to help our team,” said fourth-year singles No. 1 Joseph Cartledge (‘16). “They practiced hard over the winter, and they have improved a lot. They are really committed players, and are a big part of why we are off to such a great start. Michael, Jack and Zander are so solid in their positions, but it is nice to be able to depend on Daniel and Campbell when we need it.”
The team also scored a VIC victory against Eastern Mennonite High School and last week avenged their earlier loss to Blacksburg High School. Currently they are ranked No. 1 in the state followed by Highland School, the defending state champion who beat the Raiders 5-4 in last year’s final match.
The players focus on the next match.
“We take it one point at a time,” said No. 2 singles Michael Fleming (’16), “one game at a time, and one match at a time. That’s how we get it done.”