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Eagles drop first two on the hardcourt, but expect wins
Coach Ben Mendro likes the look of this years boys tennis team. Hes got a good group of returning players at Arlington along with some heady newcomers.
Leading the way will be senior Jacob Aylesworth. Aylesworth is an excellent ball-striker, a consistently hard server, and a mobile baseline player. Coach Mendro will expect him to take on the toughest competition from around the area.
Jacob is an extremely dedicated player, serious about his commitment, said Mendro. Hes constantly looking to improve.
Aylesworth also has the strongest second serve on the team, a vicious slice that should help him win plenty of points even if his first serve isnt working.
Junior Garrett Meyer will also be counted on to produce wins for the Eagles. Meyer has the No. 2 spot locked up right now. He has plenty of varsity experience and a strong attacking game.
What we need from Garrett is more consistency, said Mendro. Thats his biggest battle. His net game is excellent when he gets it going.
Currently sitting in the third spot on varsity is Colby Boulton, a talented senior who has yet to reach his potential.
Were expecting more out of him this year, said Mendro. Hes got an explosive topspin forehand and a good strong backhand.
The fourth slot belongs to sophomore Eric McElroy who has battled junior Will Heath all pre-season. The consistent McElroy rhythmically wears opponents down with his relentless return game.
Eric is a brickwall, a backboard, said Mendro. Were trying to add power and pace to his game this year. He keeps wanting to go back to the steady style, but we need him to be more aggressive.
As for Heath, Mendro calls him the best athlete on the team.
Will is quick, hes very athletic, but hes got to work on his serve and his overall consistency.
The doubles pairs will be led by two brothers, Max and Nick Morin. The senior Max is playing his first season on the team. His freshman brother Nick will be a fixture on the squad for years to come.
Nick is tenacious and has a refuse-to-lose attitude, said Mendro. His game has a long way to go before hes an all-around player, but he does what it takes to win. I wish Max would have come out for the team in years past, hes a very talented player.
That attitude has Nick steadily climbing the ladder of players, beating older guys.
The challenge of playing tennis is just as much mental as it is physical and Coach Mendro attempts to teach the mental side of the game to his proteges.
Its easy to lose your cool out there, said Mendro. We absolutely need guys to be consistent in finishing games off. I have pretty high expectations for this year. I hope to win at least half our matches.
So far the going has been tough with the Eagles dropping their first two games. Last Friday the team suffered a 0-7 loss to the always talented Snohomish Panthers. Snohomish also routed Marysville-Pilchuck 0-7. Snohomish and Stanwood are undefeated so far. Perhaps a larger question for the Wesco North division is who will win it, Snohomish or Stanwood?
Arlington faces Stanwood today. But Mendro is determined to win.
If we get mentally tougher, he said, well get better as the year goes on.