CEDAR GROVE,NJ - He has already proven himself as a force to be reckoned with on the tennis court. Now, Michael LaNeve has proven himself as something else off the court: this week’s TAP into Verona/Cedar Grove Panther Athlete of the Week.
“Being athlete of the week is really cool because I feel like I’ve accomplished something that not many people can do,” LaNeve said. “The feeling of all your efforts amounting to something is really exciting.”
The Cedar Grove High School junior is off to a great start this season with six wins and one loss and although he said he had a rough match recently, he is looking forward to the challenges ahead, for him and for the team.
“We've been up against pretty tough teams due to us being in a higher division than last year,” LaNeve said. “Us being in a higher division is definitely a challenge for us because we aren't used to playing these kinds of teams.”
The Panthers currently hold a record of three wins and four losses. Besides being in a higher division, the team has also had to deal with rain this year, which has hindered the players from practicing outside and working on their skills.
Still, LaNeve said being able to practice with, play with and support his teammates during matches has made this season great so far, despite having some losses. He hopes to continue to play the best that he can and win as many games as possible.
“While we may not be the best team in our division, we still want to fight as hard as we can for a good season,” LaNeve said.
Above all, LaNeve wants to continue to enjoy the sport that he loves.
“What I like about tennis is how universal it is. People all over the world and of all ages can play it,” LaNeve said. “It's really great to see everyone enjoying themselves while playing this sport. I also like how much of a mental game tennis is. It's all thinking on your feet, and I think that really adds a lot of depth to the game that you don't really see as much of in some other sports.”
As far as players go, Coach Bob Dunn said LaNeve is the most consistent player on the team, just like last year.
“The adjective I want to use for Michael is his consistency. He doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t beat himself,” Dunn said. “He is by far the most consistent player I have and is a consistent point I can always count on during matches.”