MCS features young tennis squad; Andes wins opening match

By Julia Green
Two matches into the tennis season, Margaretville Head Coach Jim Owdienko is working with a fairly young roster.
“We’re definitely in a rebuilding year,” he said. “We lost a lot of people last year, and we’ve got a lot of seniors who are first-time players.”
That list includes senior James Lor, who is currently the Blue Devils’ number one singles player, and half of their number one doubles team of brothers Tony and Alex Ramos.
“Tony’s a senior – it’s his first year – and Alex is a 10th-grader, so it’s definitely a rebuilding year,” Owdienko said.
Of six seniors, only one – senior number three singles player Kory Ancona – is a returner. First-year senior TJ Wickham is the Blue Devils’ number four singles player. Despite the peppering of seniors on his roster, Owdienko is looking to some young players to lay the foundation for the MCS tennis program, as half of the tennis roster is comprised of players in grades below 10.
“I’ve got James Warner as my second singles player, and he’s in seventh grade, and Tyler Hubbell is my fifth singles player and he’s an eighth-grader. Second doubles is Adam VanValkenburg and Garret Johnson right now, and they’re both ninth-graders. But those can change, because people in practice want some of those spots, so they play for them.”
As much as youth translates to a lack of experience, however, Owdienko sees the upside to new blood.
“There’s just a lot of enthusiasm, honestly,” he said. “They’re very enthusiastic to learn and get better, so I see us being a totally different team at the end of the season than we are now.”
Margaretville opened the season with a tough one-point loss at home to visiting Windham on Tuesday, who beat the host Blue Devils 4-3 in a match that could easily have gone either way. That was followed by a 6-1 loss to visiting Hunter on Thursday.
In terms of where his team stands this early in the season, Owdienko said it’s hard to tell.
“Right now I would probably say not quite middle of the road, but we could be there at the end of the season. We should do well. There will be a couple of teams like Hunter who are tough, but we should come out this season with some wins.”
And, he added, another upside to a lack of experience is the improvement that is visible each day.
“James Lor, my number one, I expect him to do really well,” Owdienko said. “You can see every day he’s striking the ball better and understanding where to play the ball. The number on doubles, as well – they’re so green that every day you can see improvement: better form, where to place the ball, confidence. James Warner’s doing very well; he’s going to be playing a lot of tough players at the number two spot and he’s in seventh grade, so that’s pretty impressive.
Kory Ancona, though, she’s the veteran of the team, and has been with the team every year, so I think that experience is going to help her out.”
The Blue Devils travel to Stamford on April 21 and will host visiting Charlotte Valley at 4:15 p.m. on April 23.

Windham 4, Margaretville 3
The host Blue Devils of Margaretville Central School fell to visiting Windham, 4-3, in the season opener last Tuesday.
Margareville’s James Lor won 9-6 over Hannah Verhoeven at first singles as teammates Tony Ramos and Alex Ramos defeated John Diesso and Greg Paspalis, 9-4, at first singles.
Margaretville’s Adam VanValkenburg and Garrett Johnson fell to Windham’s Lisa Davis and Andrea Black, 9-7, in second doubles as the Blue Devils’ James Warner fell to Windham’s Chris Maynard, 9-4.
Singles: James Lor (M) def. Hanna Verhoeven, 9-6; Chris Maynard (W) def. James Warner, 9-4; Brian Lowe (W) def. Kory Ancona, 9-1; Robbie Gilbertson (W) def. T.J. Wickham, 9-7; Tyler Hubbell (M) def. Alex Brabazon, 10-8.
Doubles: Tony Ramos and Alex Ramos (M) def. John Diesso and Greg Paspalis, 9-4; Lisa Davis and Andrea Black (W) def. Garret Johnson and Adam VanValkenburg, 9-7.

Andes 6, Davenport 1
The Andes Central School tennis team began its second season in fine fashion, posting a convincing 6-1 Delaware League victory over visiting Davenport last Tuesday. The Mountaineers’ Eric Reed defeated Davenport’s Megan Hotaling, 9-5, at number one singles as Sage Beemer, Kelsey Little and Tyler Fairbairn also added to the singles win column for Andes.
Singles: Eric Reed (A) def. Megan Hotaling, 9-5; Brad Teator (D) def. Justin Weaver, 9-8; Sage Beemer (A) def. Mike Zimmerman, 9-8; Kelsey Little (A) def. Jamie Madden, 9-4; Tyler Fairbairn (A) forfeit.
Doubles: Marissa Hennings and Kaitlin Mckay (A) def. Jess Rogers and Amber Roe, 9-4; Eddie Mckay and Desirae Coss (A) forfeit.

Margaretville's James WarnerMargaretville's James Warner