Last Tuesday, April 23rd, the Oswego East boys’ varsity tennis team hosted Oswego for their annual crosstown matchup. The match consisted of three singles matches and four doubles matches, all playing at the same time. The boys were able to win six of the seven matches, taking home a 6-1 win over their rivals.
“I think really the main key for me was going in and having a plan at every point, having a plan off of every serve, really knowing how to attack their weaknesses and also mixing it up. I don’t want to do the same things, and I think that’s really the key for how I played this match today,” freshman Vivek Parashar said.
In each match, the boys play a best of three sets. In each set, the first one to win six games (Unless it’s 6-5, then you have to make it to seven), is the winner. Parashar, the team’s number two ranked singles player, was able to win both of the first two sets by a score of 6-0, a dominant win. Even though he won by a large margin, he was still looking for more after the match concluded.
“I’m happy at the overall result, but I feel that I could have been tighter in other areas. No one’s perfect of course but I feel like minimizing those errors could have been the next step forward in my game,” Parashar said.
Fellow singles player and sophomore Hamza Shaikh was also able to beat his opponent. Like Parashar, he won both of the first two sets by scores of 6-0 and 6-3.
“I was just hitting shots in and hitting winners. It could have been done a little quicker and I made some mistakes, but I corrected it towards the end,” Shaikh said.
Although Coach Kristin Rude has coached tennis in years past, this is her first season coaching East’s boys’ varsity team. Although they were fresh off their first loss coming into this match, it wasn’t all negative in Rude’s mind because it showed the level that the team wants to be playing at.
“We usually look at what’s working and what’s not based on the previous match and focus on those things that need to be improved. We also focus on who we’re playing that match and anything we already know about them,” Rude said.
A big part of the level that the team wants to be playing at involves the doubles having good teamwork and communicating well. Junior Ashwin Ramesh won his doubles match in two sets by scores of 6-2 and 6-3. A big part of that though was the fact that he and his teammate were able to work together during the match like any team game.
“I think over the season we’ve gotten a lot better [at communicating]. We’re good at calling stuff out and we know exactly what ball to hit and when,” Ramesh said.
Just like Ramesh, junior Eli Dail also had to communicate with his doubles partner to win in two sets. Although they won 6-4 and 6-1, Dail was dealing with sickness and also trying to just stay calm and confident throughout the entirety of the match.
“We were confident, we got up early with serving, and we were making them fall, but then it basically turned around. They came back two games in a row so we really had to adjust our gameplan. We started lobbing and overheading, and that really caused them to mess up,” Dail said.
With the team now having a very good record on the season and looking forward to the rest of the way, both the players and Rude are thinking of how they can make sure that they have a strong rest of the season.
“I really think the team has a strong future. The goal is to win the conference, and the major goal is probably to send people to state. That would be ideal,” Ramesh said.
To take the next step towards that future goal, the team must beat a tough Minooka team that has had multiple clean sweeps (7-0 wins) in their last few matches. According to junior Sahishnu Boyapally, a conference match like this as the season is getting closer to the end is very important to make sure the team continues to challenge itself.
“I think Minooka will be the only challenge for us as far as conference play goes and to prepare against a team like that we need to continue to play great teams throughout the area and in the state,” Boyapally said.
If they can win the upcoming match, it could be a big confidence booster as the team makes its final push. As a team with big goals, they know how important it is to make progress and not move backwards.
“I think as a team we need to keep the momentum going. It’s important that we stay undefeated so we have confidence going into the conference tournament and into sectionals. We need to do drills and just prepare in terms of strategy,” Ramesh said.
The team will look to continue its strong season on Tuesday at home versus the aforementioned Minooka. The match begins at 4:00 p.m.
Ben Schmidt is a sports writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl