Boys Varsity Tennis team has a strong start to the season


Rena Salsberg and Oliver Konopko

The Boys Varsity Tennis team brought their winning streak to four on Monday with a 5-0 victory against Ethical Culture Fieldston School, rebounding from their loss against The Hackley School on March 30. The loss against Hackley was a tough one; the team did not perform their best due to their lack of practice prior to the match, Lukas Frangenberg (9) said.

As an extremely competitive player, co-captain Max Meyer (11) said that the loss against Hackley was personally frustrating, not only because the match was the first of the season, but because he was injured during it and was unable to finish the deciding match at full strength. 

Luke Peng (9) felt that the loss didn’t affect the team very much because it was their first match, and they knew they could bounce back, he said. The motivation provided by the team’s loss led to very positive practices and ultimately to the team winning their next match, Peng said. Peng believes that the team’s initial loss against Hackley humbled them and was beneficial to their overall performance because it pointed out flaws in their play.

After their loss, the team’s coaches, Patrick Westoo and Kenny Bruton, made a few changes in order to strengthen the lineup, Frangenberg said. The team also made sure to remain focused and serious during their practices, he said. 

Each typical two-hour practice begins with a dynamic warm-up, which usually includes running, lunges, and high knees, Frangenberg said. Afterwards, three groups are made, two of which spend time with both coaches to practice a range of skills, and one where students play matches against one another, Frangenberg said. Practice usually ends with a team-wide scrimmage, Frangenberg said.

In the smaller groups, the players frequently work on feeding drills in which the coach feeds the ball to the player, Meyer said. Each feeding drill focuses on specific skills such as volleying and overheads, Meyer said.

The drills differ each day, and focus on the skills that the players need to improve in their respective games, Simon Schackner (12) said. 

Practices are crucial because they are a time when players can improve their skills and bond as a team, Meyer said. 

Peng believes that the team has a tight bond, he said. “I’m looking forward to hanging with the team because I know that they all love tennis and all love playing,” he said 

Frangenberg’s favorite part about the team is the competitive spirit and the team nature, he said.  Frangenberg thinks that the supportive environment of the team is really encouraging especially because he has not been on many teams, he said. “At the matches, everyone is screaming for each other, and cheering each other on, and the competition gets intense,” Frangenberg said.

“Despite not having a real season in three years due to Covid, the team is really close and always cheers on the sidelines for each other,” Schackner said. 

 One of Peng’s favorite moments of the season so far was the match against Trinity, he said. “The game was very close, and all the boys on the side [were] cheering for [the] last doubles match to win,” he said.

 Co-Captain Damian Stellings (12) has stood out this season, Frangenberg said. “[Damian] is really talented, he’s won all of his matches, and he’s been a really solid player,” he said. 

This past Monday, the school played against Ethical Culture Fieldston School and won all five of their matches, Meyer said. The team lost hardly any games against Ethical Culture Fieldston School; “Fieldston wasn’t as strong of a team in comparison to the other teams we’ve played so far,” Peng said. 

“During the match, I felt a lot of support which helped me in my win,” Frangenberg said. 

“It wasn’t a very challenging match, but I thought the team played well.” Schackner said. When confronted with a difficult match, however, Schackner’s love for tennis keeps him motivated and helps him maintain his confidence, he said.