RIDGEFIELD, NJ - “No returning starters” is a phrase that no coach wants to hear. Yet, Hasbrouck Heights boys tennis, who did not compete last year when the season was canceled by the pandemic, cost some of this year’s team valuable experience. But all schools are in that position of having a year off, having lost a year of development.
So, the seven players who stepped onto the court on Tuesday in Ridgefield were all experiencing their first varsity tennis experience. And all seven had a favorable result, as Hasbrouck Heights swept Ridgefield, 5-0, in a NJIC inter-divisional matchup.
First singles player Aaren Ferrraro captured his match 6-0, 6-1, while Carlos Miranda (second singles) and Damiano DeCandia (third singles) both swept their matches.
In doubles action, Emre Cosgun and Stefan Stefanowki won their match at first doubles, 6-0, 6-1. The second doubles team of Marcus Vidal and Antonio Mancini won their match, 6-0, 6-0.
Head coach Suzanne Caines spoke about rebuilding the team this spring.
We are very excited to have a large group of boys on our team this season and even though not one of them has experience playing varsity tennis, we feel confident that we will be able to make a reasonable showing in our league. Our biggest challenge thus far has been in setting up JV matches, as almost every team in our league does not have enough athletes to field a JV team. We have 24 committed players and what they lack in experience, they more than make up for in enthusiasm.
We have had a very positive and productive pre-season. Many of our boys are new players, but have shown amazing diligence and excitement about learning to play. There is an unusual camaraderie and positivity that is born of our simple gratitude at having a season this year. So far, we've had three solid weeks of practice, with very few rain days.
For the first time in my history coaching here, our first singles spot was earned by a 12th grader who always loved tennis, but never played on a team. Aaren Ferraro has improved dramatically in the past few weeks. His natural athleticism and competitive spirit suggests that he will be a good leader and a fierce competitor this season. His pre-season battles with 2nd singles Carlos Miranda helped to push both of them forward.Damiano DeCandia will step into 3rd singles, while Emre Cosgun and Stefan Stefanoski are a solid first doubles team. George Totonjie, Kelsang Changrak should round out our team., although the second doubles spots are still very much in play.
I really have no idea how our league is going to be, but I feel like our kids are improving daily and the later start date this season helped us to get some traction by having fewer bad weather days. I'm excited.