Young Boys Tennis team looks for great improvement throughout season


Jasper Green

Senior Danish Mahmood backhands a ball over the net.

At the end of every school year, St. Paul Academy and Summit School seniors have to say goodbye, leaving spots for hopeful tennis players to join next year’s Boys Varsity Tennis team. Tryouts can get very competitive with only twelve varsity spots available, and most of these spots are taken up by returning players. This year there were four varsity spots available, and senior Danish Mahmood, Sophomores Brian Orza and Rahul Dev, and Eighth Grader Nathan Sobotka joined the team.

Boys Varsity Tennis is starting their season off with seniors Matti Solomon and George Stiffman as the team’s new captains. The two captains already have an unquestionable authority among their teammates, and the two strive to lead their team to victory. The two captains hope to advance as far as they can in the state tournament, before saying goodbye when the season ends.

“Last year we lost to Blake, got crushed by them actually. I mean they’re the best team in state so there’s nothing bad about that.” George Stiffman said. “Since we’re in a different section from Blake, and Breck, we have a really good shot at making it to the state tournament.”

This year’s Boys Varsity Tennis team is made up of mostly younger players, so it is essential that upperclassmen help their teammates to improve their skills.

“My best memory from being on the team was in 9th grade, when I could look up to all the older players and learn from them.” Matti Solomon said.

Solomon hopes to do the same for his teammates, “Everyone can improve their technique,” he said.

During practice, team members hit the ball back and forth replicating a match scenario. Players often work to strengthen their different hitting techniques, such as forehand, backhand, volleys, and serves.

“In the past we have had a team tradition,” Solomon said. “During some of the days where we have matches against other schools, the person who can win their match and get off the court the fastest wins. Winners get doughnuts and other people get bagels.”

This challenge requires team members to be able to beat their opponents easily, otherwise the challenge’s main component, speed, isn’t applicable. If only one player wins their match and the rest of the team loses, it isn’t much of a challenge anymore.

“If we’re playing against Blake there’s no point in having a doughnut challenge, because no one would beat them, but if we’re playing against a team like MPA the doughnut challenge is definitely on.” Stiffman said.

“We do the challenge so nobody forgets to play hard, and have fun, and that’s how we win matches.” Solomon said.
“The tennis squad is made up of a lot of different guys, we all come from different backgrounds, and different interests, but we’ve grown very close.” Stiffman said. “It’s all the little moments with the team that make the season memorable.”