Monomoy Boys Tennis Enters Spring With Experience, Continuity
By: Brad Joyal
Topics: School Sports , Tennis
HARWICH – Coaches and players don’t always know what type of team they have right away. For some teams, it can take a couple games, or several weeks, to gain a firm understanding of their identity.
The Monomoy boys tennis players don’t have to wait to meet St. John Paul II in its season opener Thursday at Monomoy Regional Middle School to learn what sort of group they are. The Sharks not only brought back everybody from last spring, they added a couple of new players to a deep and talented roster with eight seniors, five of whom are back from last year.
“It’s huge,” Monomoy’s second-year coach Reuben Bowman said. “We have five seniors returning and you want to name them all captains because they’re all good kids.”
Co-captains Colin Malone and Joe Malone — both seniors but unrelated — said they are excited to see so much continuity from last year’s team, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the Division 3 South sectional tournament before suffering a 4-1 loss to Martha’s Vineyard.
“It’s exciting seeing all the guys come back for the same roster this year,” said Colin Malone, a Harwich resident. “I feel like we were kind of building something last year and we were clicking by the end. We made it through a couple playoff games and it was going pretty well. We’re all coming back this year, so hopefully we’re going to get into it really quick and hit the ground running.”
“Everyone’s helpful with each other and everyone’s welcoming of all of the new players, too,” noted Joe Malone, a Dennis resident. “Our dynamic is really good. We all enjoy playing with each other.”
Bowman is feeling right at home, too. Although he made his debut last season, the preseason and season itself were both accelerated because of the four-season format the state’s high school sports landscape featured last year.
Even with some new players added into the fold, Bowman said he’s “definitely more comfortable.”
“I know a lot of them,” he said. “Being a [math] teacher at the school helps because I know a lot of the new kids as students, so you already have that rapport with them. It’s also great because I know the seniors and I know their strengths, so if I have a kid struggling I can take a senior and have him go over and work with them now and help the ones who need it.”
The second-year coach has already seen some of that senior leadership.
“I had a senior [Troy Olson] that saw a couple kids struggling and he stopped at one point and brought them to another court to show them a couple techniques about how to grip their racquet and hit the ball,” Bowman said. “That leadership is great.”
Bowman is also thrilled to add Peter Watson, father of senior Charles Watson, to the team as a volunteer assistant coach this spring.
“Now I can have him work some other players,” Bowman said. “With more players, I needed another hand, so it’s great to have him.”
Even with some new faces, the two co-captains said it is clear the players share the same common goal and they are hopeful for another postseason push.
Colin Malone said that was evident from the team’s first practice, noting, “everyone was already getting into it.”
“It seems like we really understand what we want to do; we want to improve and get better,” he said.
Joe Malone agreed, adding that Bowman will help identify the areas each individual player can improve.
“We all have room for improvements in some way,” Joe Malone said. “I’m sure Bowman will help us see those through and we’ll help each other out. Me and Colin will look out for the younger guys — so will the other seniors.”
While those improvements will take place over the course of the spring, Bowman is hopeful the team can start out its season on the right foot against the JP II Lions.
“They beat us in our first match of the year last year, so I told the boys we can’t start slow,” Bowman said. “We’ve got to jump into it.”
Email Brad Joyal at email@example.com.