WESTFIELD, NJ — It was a mid-season adjustment that brought a four-year varsity veteran and a first-year rookie starter together. That’s how two seniors for the Westfield High School boys tennis team, Will Kelly and Max Carle, became doubles partners. And it worked.
The second doubles pair, who share the honor of this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week, had gone 14-2 this season. Though theirs was the sole loss for Westfield in the team’s North 2 Group 4 State Championship win over Montgomery last week, Kelly and Carle have been an integral part of the tennis team´s successful run, according to head coach George Kapner.
“They play exceedingly well together and complement each other,” Kapner said. “When a team believes that one of its positions is likely to deliver a team point, it takes a lot of pressure off the other positions and allows the athletes in those other positions to relax and play with less stress. Max and Will gave their teammates that belief.”
Carle and Kelly became double partners when coaching staff reshuffled doubles pairs after a handful of tough losses at the beginning of the season. The move brought the veteran Kelly down from first to second doubles, and put Carle in the lineup for the first time in his career.
“It ultimately worked out for the best,” Carle said. “We complement our strengths and weaknesses well. When one person is on at the net, the other is on at returning. When one person puts away their volleys, the other one can hit good serves.”
Kelly, a senior captain who has been second doubles for all four years of his career, agreed that his style of play from the front hand side matches well with Carle’s abilities on the backhand side.
“My game is at the net, and it is nice to have someone that likes to play the baseline paired with me,” Kelly said. “Max is great at baseline play. He’s strong at the backhand side, and makes it easy for me at the net.”
Carle added, “Will can put away his volleys, and his overheads are especially good. When I can set Will up with a good return, and he has a good look at the net, I can count on winning that point.”
The biggest win of the season for the pair came earlier in the year in the state sectional final. After a surprising loss by first singles standout Tyler Roth, the second doubles team of Kelly and Carle won the decisive team point over JP Stevens to push the Blue Devils to the state tournament.
This fall, Kelly will attend the University of Notre Dame, while Max will attend the University of Delaware. Both hope to play club tennis. The team played the final matches of their careers in the New Jersey High School Tournament of Champions Wednesday.
Mack Liederman is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAP into Westfield.
The Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Ron Bansky & Associates Allstate Agency. Located on the South Avenue Circle in Westfield, the agency has been protecting local families and business owners for over 15 years. Call them at 908-301-0711 for a new auto, home or life insurance quote this week and if you mention the Allstate WHS Athlete of the Week they will make a $25 contribution to the Westfield Boosters Association! To learn more, visit ronbansky.com.