Eddie Wang ’24 defeated his opponent in a three set tiebreaker in the last match of the day to secure a 7-0 victory in a scrimmage against Belmont Hill this past Saturday as fans gathered to cheer on Andover Boys Tennis. The April 10 victory at home was the team’s first competition after a canceled season the previous spring.
According to Co-Captain Mac Katkavich ’21, he made the most of his opportunity to play competitively in his senior season and noted the energy of the scrimmage that was created by cheering students and Blue Key Head chants.
“It was a highlight to just be out on the court playing after our season got cut short last year and to start our senior season with a win was great. We also had more people from Andover at our tennis match than I had ever seen in my time at Andover. The big thing for me was that it was the first time a Blue Key Head chant had happened at a tennis match in my time. For my first senior match, it was great because of the energy,” said Katkavich.
According to Kian Burt ’24, the older players acted as mentors to the younger members as each match was fueled by the senior voices on the court. Burt described how lively the atmosphere was in his first tennis match at Andover.
“I think that [Senior leadership] has been really helpful because there are three Seniors on the team and the rest of the five of us are four [Juniors] and one Lower who have all not had a season. It is extremely motivating. In the middle of the singles matches you would hear the Seniors cheering for us. It was a new experience which was very fun,” said Burt.
According to Katkavich, the short timespan in which the team prepared for gameplay proved to be a challenge, but the team was able to focus on competitive practice matches to get ready for its match against Belmont Hill.
“We started tryouts on Tuesday and only finalized the team on Thursday. We did a lot of singles challenge matches to just get in the mode not only to create a ladder for ourselves going into the weekend but also just to get some match play in and get that competitive edge back against each other. On the final days on Thursday and Friday, we did a lot of doubles because that is obviously important in a tough match against a school like Belmont Hill,” said Katkavich.
According to Wang, he found success in his return skills and serving, but mentioned that the team will need to focus on getting back into full form after not playing competitively during the quarantine period.
“I think I was hitting really well in doubles. I had some really good returns and I had a decent first serve percentage. The whole team played really consistently. We weren’t giving [Belmont Hill] anything and we were really positive overall. I think some of us are definitely shaking off the quarantine rust, and some of our serves are a little shaky. I think a goal of mine is to work on my serve and my movement,” said Wang.
Katkavich described the immense individual talent that will drive the team to push each other going into the next matches of the season. While he looks to make each player better, he noted the importance of creating an encouraging team environment that will result in success.
“We have a lot of depth on our team with [our teammates]. Any of them could beat anyone on any given day, so I think that the goal is to keep the competitive nature of the team while also fostering a supportive culture on the team,” said Katkavich.
Boys Tennis will look to secure a victory away at Cushing on Saturday.