By MIKE SMITH
On April 10, the Harrison tennis team hosted its rivals from Rye, downing the Garnets in the first of two meetings between the squads this year.
Harrison’s 4-3 win over its league foe was a signature win for the Huskies early in the 2014 season and serves as proof this talented bunch can hang with top in-conference teams.
So far this year, Harrison has been led by junior Matt Miles, who has been on the team for three years. He has slid into Harrison’s top spot and is a much-improved player according to Huskies coach Quan Huynh. Even in Miles’ losses, Huynh said, the Huskies’ ace is never outgunned.
“He’s definitely gotten better with all of his strokes and his shot-making,” the head coach said. “All of the matches he’s lost, they’ve been super points.”
The Huskies have also been buoyed by the play of some younger singles competitors as well, with eighth-grader Tucker Martino and freshman Adam Alper finding success despite their relative youth.
Huynh said playing at the high school level isn’t a huge leap for these budding stars, as they have proved their mettle in tournaments outside of the high school season.
“They all play USTA tournaments,” Huynh said. “Plus, Tucker is a squash player and that really transitions nicely to tennis as well.”
Harrison’s doubles teams are led by the senior duo of Lucas Pettinato and Eli Barich, who are indicative of the athleticism and experience Harrison has in the doubles ranks this year. The Huskies have quite a few upperclassmen playing in the doubles division who are able to use their maturity and physical skills to keep Harrison in matches this year.
“We have a lot of seniors who aren’t necessarily [year-round] tennis players, but they’re good athletes,” Huynh said. “All their matches have been close, just a point here or there.”
So far, Huynh said, the biggest obstacle to the Huskies’ success has been the weather as early spring rains have often washed out the Huskies’ practice time. The squad is still looking to find a doubles pairings to give the team the best chance at victory.
With his team at 2-4 on the season, Huynh hopes the team comes together sooner rather than later.
“It’s been something of a hindrance trying to figure out the pairings,” Huynh said. “We’ll do some work in the fitness center, strength training or conditioning, but we are coming along and hopefully gelling in the next few weeks.”
The Huskies are off this week, but will be back in action on April 21 when they host Keio. The match with the Unicorns kicks off a grueling stretch that will see Harrison take on Bronxville, Rye and Arlington.
“Those are all tough teams,” Huayan said. “After that, we have Fox Lane, Blind Brook, and then, in three weeks, the postseason. Hopefully by that first week in May, we will be ready.”