Vengeful Victory Against Taft

Donning new team uniforms in honor of late teammate Mark Adamsson ’11, Andover Boys Tennis avenged its 3-4 loss to Taft last season with a 4-3 win on Saturday. The solid-white polos carry Adamsson’s initials on the sleeve, a sharp contrast from the checkered uniforms Andover sported during last year’s season. Harsh wind conditions were prevalent as the teams took to the courts. In the doubles games, the duo of Co-Captain Henry Kalb ’14 and Michael Huang ’15 dug itself in a 2-5 hole on the second court. Kalb credited the poor play to a lapse of focus. After regrouping in the middle of the set, Kalb and Huang came back to 6-5. The teams went on to battle back and forth until Taft pulled ahead to close out the match 9-8 (4). Co-Captain James Heaney ’14 and Christopher Kralik ’16 also lost in a nail-biting 7-5 tie-breaker on Court 1. “What helped Taft win in doubles is that they come to the net together. No matter what’s happening or how many times they get hurt, they keep coming and driving out grenades,” said Head Coach Gregory Wilkin. A moment of hope came from the new doubles team of William Way ’17 and Jonathan Jow ’16, filling in for injured teammate Dan Wang ’14. The pair won handily 8-3. “We were volleying solidly and playing consistently from the baseline, so we were able to out-rally them for the win,” said Way. Using the momentum from his doubles win, Way came into his own as a new addition to the team and quickly secured a 6-4, 6-0 win in singles on Court 5, tying the score 1-1. Heaney and Huang found trouble after taking early game-point leads in their second sets. They let their leads slip, but both closed out their matches to win 6-4. Kalb’s 7-6 (6), 6-3 win at Number 4 singles gave Andover the fourth point it needed to determine the match. “I was just trying to find the balance between consistency and being aggressive,” said Kalb. “We are delighted that our Co-Captains came through so well in tough matches. Kalb put the pedal to the medal and finished off in a big way in a great final set. It was a close and crucial win,” said Wilkin. The long battles on Courts 1 and 6 finished after Andover’s win had been determined and both ended in tight losses: 7-5, 6-3 and 7-6 (6), 6-3. On Wednesday, Andover faced a much tougher opponent when it played Millfield, from Somerset, England. Andover picked up two wins, one in singles and one in doubles, against the deep team. Kalb and Huang won 8-5, thanks to constant and consistent net aggression. Heaney was also leading his match 7-6 (6), 5-2 when his opponent retired with a crippling knee injury. “Millfield plays in the Mens Doubles League in England, and they carry that high level into their singles, playing a very aggressive net game. This was the perfect kind of scrimmage for us to have, as we rose to the challenge against a talented team,” said Wilkin. Andover faces Middlesex Friday.