After clinching first place in the Class A New England Championships last season, Boys Varsity Tennis is hungry to repeat its dominance this year; however, it may be hard for the team to defend its title after losing several crucial seniors.
Andover finished its 2014 season with an impressive record of 10-2, cruising through the regular season and defeating Hotchkiss in the Championship to be crowned New England Champions for the second year in a row.
This year, Andover will have to deal with the loss of three key seniors in their lineup: former Co-Captains Henry Kalb ’14 and James Heaney ’14, as well as Daniel Wang ’14. Heaney was undefeated at the number one seed on the team, while Kalb was also undefeated at number four. Michael Huang ’15 and Christopher Kralik ’16 will replace them as the new Co-Captains and look to hopefully replicate their success.
Returner Will Way ’17 is confident that Andover can adapt to the loss of its seniors.
“To make up for their absence, we’re going to have to put in a lot of hard work before the season begins and make sure we get a good start and secure some early wins to get some confidence and momentum that will carry on into the remainder of the season,” said Way.
Although the roster isn’t set in stone yet, Andover expects to have five returning members to the team: Huang, Kralik, Jonathan Jow ’16 and Tyler Shen ’17. The returners will form the core of the roster, while several promising prospects will fill up the remaining three spots. Andover is relying on these new members to step up and round out the roster to give the team additional depth.
During preseason, Andover trained in La Jolla, California, working on conditioning and getting back into the swing of things. The team also played a few friendlies with local teams, such as La Jolla High School and La Jolla Country Day School.
Shen said, “It was a great way to start the season: it was light training and wasn’t too harsh or strenuous. The team really got to bond and the new candidates got to see how we work.”
On the other hand, Shen noted that the team didn’t meet some of its expectations during preseason.
“We didn’t do as well as we thought we could, and we didn’t do as well as we know we could. One of our biggest problems during preseason was conditioning. Our lack of fitness really brought us down in our matches, so we need to stay focused on it. However, if we really solidify our physical stamina, we should be all set for this season and be able to defend our title,” he said.
Way said, “We’re going to have to make sure we have a lot of depth and that our whole lineup is playing well so that we can rely on one another to bring home the win.”
Huang continued, “Our number one priority is making sure the rest of the team can step up into their new higher spots on the team as the Seniors are now gone. We’ve been a deep team the last two years, which is the main reason why we’ve won New England’s.”
Andover will kick off its 2015 season next Wednesday, traveling to BB&N in hopes of starting its season with a win.