Rebuilding tennis team tops NDGP
Head coach Rob Benson entered this season knowing it was a bit of a rebuilding year for the Salisbury boys’ tennis team. After graduating all three of his singles players and his top doubles team, not much experience returned this spring.
So, Benson isn’t as focused on wins as losses this year as much as he is with how his young players progress. And for the most part, the Falcons have improved greatly since stepping on the court for the first time in March.
The hard work has paid dividends for this inexperienced group. Most recently the Falcons (4-9) upset a heavily favored 10-3 Notre Dame (Green Pond) 3-2 over the weekend led by their two doubles squads.
“I’m seeing a lot of improvement,” Benson said. “My doubles teams are my strength. We just have to get some singles wins. The kids have been playing more aggressive than they have. I just have to get them over of being afraid to lose. I don’t care if they lose, as long as they are aggressive.
“It’s not a matter of wins and losses. It’s a matter of them getting a little bit better now.”
No. 1 doubles tandem of Brad Hnatow and Bryce Erdman, who are the lone returning starters from 2017, took care of business once again. The duo defeated Notre Dame’s Brian Myers and Gavin Chinchar (6-4, 6-3). Dylan Weber and Tyler Sechler-Stone, who have made a name for themselves at No. 2 doubles, won easily in straight sets with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Matt Dittman and Matt Baurkot.
Benson’s two doubles teams have been leading the Falcons all season long, but he’s hoping to get the singles players to follow suit. That starts with becoming more aggressive at the net, but limited practice time due to poor weather conditions has made that tough.
“We need practice time,” Benson said. “We had one on a Saturday, but other than that we haven’t had many good practices.
“All of the other teams are in the same boat. We replaced everybody, but we ended up with four freshmen and five sophomores. I haven’t had time to work with them really too much.”
No. 3 singles Chris Marinos played arguably his best match of the season on Saturday against the Crusaders. He defeated Notre Dame’s Ben Nixford in straight sets (7-5, 6-2) to help the Falcons edge the Crusaders.
“I’m happy that they are playing aggressive,” Benson said. “We will get even more aggressive as time goes along. That’s just my style. We’re getting better and we are taking it one step at a time.”