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OP Tennis Preview

Luke Bernstein, Staff Writer

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Even with snow on the ground, the Oratory Prep tennis team is hard at work creating the best lineup possible for the spring season. Ever since the official start to spring sports on March 2nd, the weather has hampered all OP spring sports, especially tennis.  With three snow storms already in the month of March and another on the way hampering athletic efforts, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find practice time and locations. The team has only had a few outdoor practices, making it incredibly difficult to figure out a lineup and methods to beat all of their fierce competition this year. To compensate for this foul weather, OP tennis has been making their best effort to find indoor space to hone their skills. Despite the coaches attempts, only twice has the team practiced indoors on a full court, but that is not the only way to practice indoors.

Besides one day spent shoveling the courts in incredibly cold weather, the tennis team has spent time inside the Bain gym playing a modified version of pickleball.  While most agree that these gym practices are not a fair reflection on how the team will fair outdoors, it is still incredibly fun and a great way to stay in a tennis frame of mind when not able to play outdoors. Since there have not been few outdoor practices, OP Varsity Coach Mr. Manna has taken some time to answer a few questions regarding the upcoming season.

His main goal for the season is to improve overall each day as the varsity team will only be returning two players and almost everyone will be performing in positions they never have before.  He is hoping that as the season wears on, the team will become more experienced and perform at a higher level. However, the earlier part of the schedule features matches against Jonathan Dayton, ALJ, and Cranford, crucial opponents for OP.  Mr. Manna hopes to compete with these teams and finish above them in the conference, and, if so, his expectations will have been exceeded. He also hopes to surprise a team like Governor Livingston or Scotch Plains who are in the division above OP but have lost many seniors. Regarding the upcoming season, Mr. Manna has told the team that they must put in the effort and time and must be ready to compete in every match. In reality, he only hopes that everyone gives 100% effort each and every day.

While the lineup is not set in stone, Mr. Manna does have an idea regarding the Varsity singles situation, but doubles is a whole other story. Ian Moore will most likely return to the first singles spot, “hoping to improve on his 8-7 record from last year.” The other returning Varsity player, Drew St. Amant will make a huge jump in the lineup from Second Doubles to a likely singles position. Mr. Manna also said that “freshman Will Moran has also been a pleasant surprise and will likely feature in a singles spot.” He also hopes to figure out the doubles positions soon, but first hopes the weather will cooperate.

Regarding the terrible weather that has plagued spring sports this season, Mr. Manna says that he has never dealt with snow like this in his entire eight year coaching career during his favorite season, the spring. This snow is bothering him very much as it is destroying the challenge match system, however, he must deal with it to prepare OP tennis for a great season.  Even with more snow on the ground and coming soon, OP has its first match on April 4th against ALJ followed by Cranford on April 5th.

Photo Credit: https://goo.gl/T69kyu

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