Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
With a pair of new coaches in the mix, things are looking up for the Bartlett High School tennis program.
The new Bartlett girls’ tennis coach and former football coach Chris Nasis may be in somewhat unfamiliar territory, but coaching is in his blood. “I think the biggest thing when I took the job was that I understood that we had some really good, talented tennis players.”
Nasis focused on training and getting the girls in shape and the plan is working out well. “I always think that to be better in any sport you play you have to become a good athlete. To do that you got to work out, you’ve good to move. I think that it is a strength that we have had and the kids have been outstanding. In two weeks there has been major improvement. Not too much football style training” he said jokingly,” “but if you want to be better athletes you got to train like an athlete.”
“At first I didn’t enjoy it but now I do because I am in much better shape,” said senior captain Brenda Sundara, who has been with the team since the seventh grade. “We never ran around the court, we never did drills, push-ups, it’s been very beneficial.”
Senior Captain Miranda Smith
Sundara started playing doubles tennis with fellow senior captain Miranda Smith in her sophomore year and they went undefeated as a pair last year. “Miranda and I have always worked well with each other. I am a little scared to play singles because I have always played doubles, but I am excited for us this season as a team.”
“Now that Brenda and I are both singles players it’s going to be a lot different,” said Smith, “I am a little nervous because I have never played singles before but I have a good feeling about this year. It’s going to be tough because we don’t have Miranda Biron (graduation) and others. We are going to have to work for it but with our coach now I think we have a good chance.”
Junior Jen Grooms, who is also part of the team’s strong core of players said, “I am looking forward to becoming a better overall player and as a team I would just like us to all support each other and work together.”
Nasis also mentioned Amanda Smith, who attends the Math and Science Academy in Worcester, but is eligible to play for Bartlett because Math and Science does not have a tennis team. “Amanda is a great kid, a hard worker; she has been a real surprise.
"I have been real happy the past two weeks since I took on the challenge. I feel confident, we have the best of the best here not just on the court but also academically, that just shows you the type of kids we have.” said Nasis.
Bartlett Boys’ Tennis: Van Constantine is returning as the boys coach after being idle the last couple of years and is excited about the team’s possibilities. “So far I am encouraged by what I have seen; we have a lot of veteran players who have at least three years experience on the team.”
Captain James Guyette
The Indians are anchored by a pair of seniors in Captain James Guyette and Matt Moussa, who are set to be the number one and two singles players. Constantine calls the pair “great leaders” and “strong players.”
“We also have a very good third singles player in Jacob Gatto. He has a couple of years experience in both singles and doubles. Matt Pepin is paired up with Martin Boersma, who has done very well, he is serving incredibly well and they make a very good doubles team.”
The team also has plenty of depth and youth. “Our second doubles pair has a freshman who is unbelievable, Brent Filgerelski. He is incredible and is teamed up with another junior, Tommy James. Tommy and Brent have a great chemistry together and that is what you want in a doubles team to keep the consistency there.
“It has been working out well so far. We have some younger players coming up as well”, said Constantine
Guyette feels much better about the team’s chances after having to endure a couple of losing seasons. “I think that we could turn the program around this year and win a few matches.”
His teammate Moussa agreed, “Overall it has been going a lot better this year, the new kids really seem to enjoy tennis. We are more like a family this year. It’s a lot better.”
Nick Lemay: Oxford lefty Nick Lemay started the season with an outstanding 16-strikeout performance against Quaboag and he is one of the main reasons that the Pirates have high hopes this season. Lemay feels very confident about his teammates. “We played together in town league and we ended up winning the state championship and most of the same guys are on this team. We have a good nucleus, the kids that came back this year are good hitters, good fielders, good players overall. I think we are going to do really good this year.”
The Pirates got off to a 2-0 with shutout wins over Quaboag and Southbridge in their first two contests.
Oxford Girls Softball: Head Coach Jamie Hetherman is excited about his team’s potential this year coming off a 12-8 season a year ago.
Captain Nicole Mangaudis, who has pitched every inning of every game since her freshmen year and led the Pirates to the Districts last year is back to lead the squad. Hetherman called her an “awesome player and an awesome leader.” He also raved about three-year starter/catcher junior Sara Smith, whom he calls “very athletic and has a good bat, is a great leader.” Smith hit .400 last year and according to Hetherman “is one of the best catchers in the league.”
Senior centerfielder Katie McCarthy, a three-sport star at Oxford, is also back to anchor the outfield, as is another three-sport star Lauren Puishys. The Pirates also have a couple of freshmen in Callie Andrews and Evelyn Marquis, from whom Hetherman expects great things. He also talked about sophomore third baseman Jamie Brodeur, who was an excellent field hockey player.
The Pirates split their first two games losing 3-1 to Quaboag and beating Southbridge 12-9 behind a 12-strikeout performance by Mangaudis.
Shepherd Hill Girls Tennis Results: The Shepherd Hill Girls Tennis team lost their opener to Quaboag 3-2 on Thursday in Warren. The doubles teams of Sandy Tarasiak and Bri Borus and Chrissy Chevalier and Stephanie Gallant both emerged victorious in the losing effort.
Bartlett Boys Tennis Loses to Grafton 3-2: The Bartlett Boys lost their home opener to Grafton last Friday. Matt Moussa and the doubles team of Tommy James and Brent Filgerlski were on the winning side. Indians top singles player James Guyette lost a tough match to Grafton’s ace James Milligan.
Bartlett Girls Win Tennis Opener 4-1: Jen Grooms and Amanda Stevens each won long hard-fought singles matches, while the doubles team of Miranda Smith and Indre Naujokiate and Katie King and Kellie Duquette each won their doubles matches. Indians’ ace Brenda Sundara lost to Sarah McCarthy in her singles match.
with any sports news that you would like to see in The View!