FRYEBURG — The young Fryeburg Academy boys’ tennis team expects “a season of growth for both me and the team,” according to first-year Coach John Waldie.
With zero competitive tennis played last spring by a roster that includes no seniors, junior Owen West is the only player with regular varsity experience dating back to his freshman spring. West teamed with sophomore James Harrison at the first doubles position in a 6-1, 6-4 loss to the Mountain Valley pairing of Mickeriz and Durant on April 15. Waldie felt the duo played well in the season-opener, using their height and agility at the net to win several points.
Sophomore "Chris" Jaemin Kwon earned Fryeburg the victory at first singles in an exciting 4-6, 6-4, (10-6) match over Weston. Due to impending darkness, the third set was limited to a 10 point tiebreaker. Kwon displayed consistency, speed, agility and court coverage throughout the match. While not the hardest hitter of the ball, Kwon kept points alive until his opponent made errors.
Freshman Austin Dorner lost 6-2, 6-0 at second singles to MV's Sevigny. Normally, Waldie predicts that Dorner, with his "consistent first serve and steady groundstrokes," will compete in the third singles, when junior Ethan Nemeth returns to the lineup.
Also stepping up a notch to third singles against MV was junior "Brian" Yongseok Yoo, who suffered a hard-fought 6-4,4-6,4-6 defeat to Cameron of MV. Waldie characterized Yoo as "a hard hitter with a big serve and pronounced topspin groundstrokes who will need to work on his consistency" to match his competitive drive.
The second Raiders' point in their 3-2 loss to Mountain Valley came courtesy of freshman twin brothers Brian and Kevin Lucy at second doubles. While neither are strong hitters, the matching redheads' consistency and athleticism forced their opponents into many mistakes and long points in their 6-4, 7-5 win over Frisbee and Gamache.
This spring the Raiders will compete in the Western Maine Conference with several strong opponents from the greater Portland area. This will be a change from the predominantly private school schedule of Gould, Hebron and Hyde from past years. According to Waldie, "We are a raw group of mostly new additions to the game of tennis. Knowing that we are 'behind the curve' in the competitive tennis business, I expect it to be a season of growth for both me and the team."
With such a young squad, Waldie has set simple goals for his athletes: “get better each match, grow as players and as students.”
With 11 players on the roster, Waldie hopes to pick up some extra games beyond the three singles and two doubles which comprise a varsity match, to gain experience for his entire lineup. The youthful Raiders got a taste of some top opposition on April 20, against traditional tennis powerhouse, Greely. Playing two team matches with single eight-game sets, the Raiders were handled easily by the Rangers, losing 5-0 and 5-0, winning only nine games on the afternoon, to fall to 0 wins and 3 losses on the young season.
Fryeburg was scheduled to host North Yarmouth Academy (0-1) on Wednesday. Results were not known as of press time.