On March 17, the boys’ tennis team defeated Hightstown on a cloudy day at North. Although theyteam was victorious, the match wasn’t an easy victory. North won the close game by just one point, with a final score of 3-2. Both teams played well, but Hightstown brought the best out of North.
“The team is 6-1, doing very well as we play matches with more confidence. We have a lot of new faces on the team that are stepping up and competing very well,” tennis coach Albert Paulsson said. Both sets of players showed a great deal of intensity, turning the match into a battle between two fierce opponents.
The singles matches were especially intense. Dramatic serves, as well as swings faster than the blink of an eye, set the bar for who had the skill and precision to win. “I didn’t play too well this match,” sophomore Aditya Bemby said. “I’ll just go back, train harder, and maybe next time I can end up with a W.”
The doubles matches tested which side possessed the best communication skills. The boys contested long rallies until someone slipped up. “We’ve trained pretty hard over the course of our schedule and gotten better and better with our team chemistry and how our doubles and singles work,” junior Rahul Kacham said. The couples had to strategize and respond quickly, and some impulsive swinging resulted in lost points. The stress and anxiety in the aggressive, powerhouse swings were palpable.
Toward the end of the match, North launched a comeback. “Mental toughness is the key to this game. If you are playing opponents who can hit long rallies with you, the key to getting points is staying more confident and focused in your shots,” Paulsson said. “I talk with the guys, reminding them not to go for too much too soon, playing with their best shots, but also playing smart, and not trying to end the point too soon.”
North’s team is hoping to win the upcoming Mercer County Tournament and make a run in the state championship. Bemby said, “We don’t have too many seniors who are really experienced, so we’ve got to try to work harder.”