NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — As one of the youngest members of the West Essex boys tennis team, Eli Boshak continues to play ahead of his years.
The freshman has been nothing short of phenomenal for the squad this season, going 13-4 on the year in head-to-head matches while competing in the first singles spot.
“I try not to react or show my reaction, so I kind of just tell myself ‘next point’ or ‘next game’—or some of my teammates will yell stuff out; that’s helpful,” said Boshak. “I try not to get down when I miss a shot I should make…So far, when I get down a little, I continue working hard during the [key] points of the game to try and win a little.”
While only a freshman, Boshak has learned on the fly competing in the top singles spot for the Knights. Perhaps the biggest lesson he has learned is how to mentally prepare for the matches he competes in, which are often against older, more experienced players.
“[I learned] you’re going to lose some games,” said Boshak. “You have to bounce back from them, don’t worry about them and focus on the next game.”
It’s been a whirlwind journey for the freshman this season. Heading into this season Boshak expected to be part of the team although he didn’t know how big a part he would be. Like any underclassmen Boshak worked his way up during tryouts to eventually earn the number one singles spot for West Essex.
“As tryouts went on, I started winning matches and eventually moved up, which was nice,” said Boshak.
This season, the West Essex boys tennis team has gone 16-3 to date. The group has played well enough to earn the fifth seed in the North 2, Group 2 State Sectional, where the Knights will host North Plainfield. Boshak feels the team is poised for a run in the tournament.
“The team has been working real well together,” said Boshak. “We have good chemistry, so if someone is down or struggling we’ll motivate them to do better. We’re all playing well right now, so it helps to win matches.”
While the end goal is to win a state championship both as a team and individual, it will take a phenomenal effort for Boshak and company to deliver on this endeavor.
“It’s not going to be easy,” said Boshak. “It’s going to be harder matches and hopefully I can win a couple of them.”