(March 20, 2015) At the end of the 2014 tennis season, Stephen Decatur coaches Jamie Greenwood and Steve Berquist said they were pleased with the progress the underclassmen made.
Most of those players have returned this season with a year of varsity experience under their belts. Many of them also took lessons or played in the off-season to improve their game.
Both coaches, now in their seventh season leading the program, have 12 players on their respective rosters. Each team returns eight veterans from last season when the boys’ and girls’ teams both finished with 8-6 records.
“We’re a little rusty. We’re knocking the cobwebs off and getting into the swing of things. I think we’ll be competitive this year,” Greenwood said of the Lady Seahawks’ squad. “We have experience. Three-quarters of the team has played before. We return a lot of girls with [varsity match] court time.”
Four of Greenwood’s five singles players graduated. The only one back to compete is senior Delaney Iacona. She will take over the No. 1 spot this season.
“Of course there’s pressure. I was second [singles] last year and I could see all the first-seeded people and how good they played,” said Iacona, a member of the team since her freshman year. “Of course it’s kind of nerve-racking, but I have faith the rest of the team will pull through. There are six seniors and we all have really good chemistry and we play well together. There’s a couple new girls so we’re going to try to welcome them with open arms…we’re out here to have fun and see what we can do.”
Junior Katie Withers will join Iacona at the top of the singles line-up, followed by newcomer Laila Mirza, a freshman, who will most likely play in the No. 3 spot.
Several players will rotate between fourth and fifth singles and first doubles, Greenwood said. As of Monday, that list had yet to be determined.
“We want to be competitive in every match, especially against Bennett, Parkside and Worcester Prep. Those will be our most difficult ones,” Greenwood said.
Berquist lost three of his top singles players to graduation. Junior Logan Romberger has stepped up and will lead the Seahawks in the No. 1 singles position this season.
“We have some new players this year and a lot of people who are here for their second year, too,” Romberger said. “I’m one of two people who have been on the team for three years. Just knowing the workings of, specifically Bayside [Conference] high school tennis, will help me to show everybody else the ropes. I think our goal is to just win the matches we should win and hopefully get some wins we might not be expected to get.”
Although there may be some changes, rounding out the second through fifth singles line-up will be veterans, sophomore Josh Domingo, junior Christian Beres, Jacob Moore, the team’s lone senior, and junior Deep Patel.
Most likely competing at first doubles will be juniors Reed Watson and Jake Blosveren.
Berquist said the boys are working hard and they all get along well. With a core group returning from 2014, Berquist said this season started off pretty smooth because players are familiar with drills and how practices run.
“It’s a tight-knit group that enjoys playing tennis together,” he said.
The Seahawks beat all of their opponents last season except for Bennett, Parkside and Worcester Prep. They lost twice to each team. Berquist hopes this season his squad can get a win or two over those teams.
BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ TENNIS:
March 26: Washington, 4 p.m. (A)
March 27: Worcester Prep, 4 p.m. girls (H), boys (A)
March 30: Snow Hill, 4 p.m. (H)
March 31: Parkside, 4 p.m. (A)
April 1: Bennett, 3 p.m. (H)
April 7: Wicomico, 4 p.m. (A)
April 9: Pocomoke, 4 p.m. (H)
April 16: Washington, 4 p.m. (H)
April 17: Worcester Prep, 4 p.m.
boys (H), girls (A)
April 20: Snow Hill, 4 p.m. (H
April 22:Parkside, 4 p.m. (H)
April 23: Bennett, 4 p.m. (A)
April 27: Wicomico, 4 p.m. (H)
April 30 Pocomoke, 4 p.m. (A)