Mix of veterans, newcomers for Knight tennis boys
|DAVID MESA will start the season as the top player in the Kingswood lineup. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)|
April 05, 2010WOLFEBORO — After taking a year off, Greg Cooper is returning to the helm of the Kingswood boys' tennis team, joining Jeff Ladd as one of the team's two coaches for this season. Ladd took on the full responsibilities last season in Cooper's absence.
Being as he took the year off, Cooper will be looking at an entirely new set of kids when the season opens for the Knights this coming Monday.
"I took last year off, so with the exception of one player, I am returning to a totally new team," Cooper noted.
One thing that jumped out at Cooper about this year's squad is the sheer number of players. Cooper and Ladd have 15 players on the roster, the most they've had in a number of years, which is surely a sign of things picking up as the Knights look ahead down the road.
To make matters even better, Cooper reports that things have been going very well in the early part of the preseason as the boys prepare to take the court in regular season matches.
"The kids are great, practices are fun and very productive and everyone is rapidly improving," Cooper said.
He noted that everyone has the opportunity to play challenge matches in order to move up the lineup, so the lineup certainly isn't set in stone, but looking at the roster he had, Cooper had an idea of what the top six would look like come opening day.
Junior David Mesa will slide into the top spot vacated by the graduation of Steve Anderson. Mesa was new to the team last season but immediately made his mark, claiming the second spot for most of the season.
Sophomore Peter Gibson, who saw significant time as a freshman last year, will return to the team as a sophomore and will likely begin the season as the number two player on the lineup card.
Senior Nick Moulton will also return to the court for another season and will begin the year in the third spot in the lineup for the Knights.
In the fourth spot, Cooper has slotted freshman Alden Garland, who will be making his varsity debut this season.
Junior Ryan Lane, who saw some time at the varsity level last season, will move into the fifth spot in the lineup.
Rounding out the top six will be another freshman, Nils Babcock.
Cooper expects that the doubles pairings will go right down the ladder, with Mesa and Gibson playing at number one, Moulton and Garland at number two and Lane and Babcock at number three.
However, Cooper did point out that the lineup will likely change as challenge matches are played and players vie for position in and out of the top six.
In the preseason, the team has been practicing indoors at Brewster Academy's Smith Center, at Gilford Hills and once at the Cranmore Sports Club. Cooper expects that the team will likely play most of its home matches at Foss Field, though over the past few years, if those courts aren't available, the team has played at YMCA Camp Northwoods in Tuftonboro.
The Knights opened the season after deadline on Wednesday, April 7, at Laconia. The boys will have their first home game on Monday, April 12, at 4:15 p.m. at Foss Field. On Wednesday, April 14, they head to Souhegan for a 4:15 p.m. match.