BUHS boys tennis team debuts Thursday
BRATTLEBORO — You can't blame first-year New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone for smiling when he fills out his team's lineup card before each game.
Brattleboro Union High School varsity boys tennis coach Charlie La Rosa can relate.
"As it looks right now, we have a solid team of talented and experienced upperclassmen and even more depth than I had expected. We're confident we will be able to compete toe-to-toe with our MVL rivals all the way down the seeding. The guys have set a goal to move along the bracket one more level for the state playoffs. We'll see, but it's definitely not just a dream," said La Rosa, whose team went 10-4 last season including a loss to CVU in a quarterfinal.
Brattleboro will host Northampton in Thursday's season opener at 4:30 p.m.
La Rosa will probably pencil co-captain Martin Sipowicz into the No. 1 singles spot. Alex Shuey, who is another co-captain, will likely be in the second slot.
"There's going to be a lot of intra-team competition, and I expect to see movement all over the place. It's going to be a knock down, drag out competition just in practice," noted the BUHS coach. "Alex and Martin have the respect of their teammates for what they have contributed over the years, and they are true leaders."
There are seven other seniors on this experienced and talented team.
"It's simply remarkable to see the improvement many of the guys have demonstrated. They have been playing since last summer, outdoors and in, and it really shows. Jonah Petrie can punch with anyone these days and will be a big surprise to his opponents this year," La Rosa stated.
He added that Josh Nordheim, Mason Powers, Cole Merkle, Ari Essunfeld, Kyle Murray and Forest Zabriskie have made huge gains, that Rowan Kidder has worked hard and has developed some great shots, that Tom Szpila should be his usual rock solid self, and that he hopes to see good things from Jacob Bailey this spring.
"While I'm thrilled for the veterans, perhaps the most pleasant surprise this spring has been the addition of Mason Foard, Ben Diamondstone, Damian Dierkes, Jordan Roach, and Ty Smith. They will challenge some of the vets right out of the gate," La Rosa remarked.
The Brattleboro coach is also excited about what newcomers Abe Moore-Odel, Zach Thomas and Mateus Aragao are capable of doing on the courts.
"It's a really big squad and without the help of assistant coach Ed Powers it would be impossible to get everyone the coaching they need and deserve. Ed is a great coach and a very welcome addition," La Rosa said. "With such depth, our toughest job may be deciding on a lineup for each match."
Boone knows the feeling.
Brattleboro boys tennis roster: Coaches — Charlie La Rosa, Ed Powers. Players — Martin Sipowicz, Alex Shuey, Mason Powers, Jonah Petrie, Kyle Murray, Tom Szpila, Jacob Bailey, Logan Affinito, Cole Merkle, Rowan Kidder, Josh Nordheim, Forest Zabriskie, Ari Essunfeld, Damian Volaitis Dierkes, Jordan Roach, Ben Diamondstone, Mateus Aragao, Zach Thomas, Ty Smith, Mason Foard, Abraham Moore-Odel.
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