Tennis Season comes to an end…
This year the Camden Military Academy Varsity Tennis Team finished their season with eight wins and three losses—the best season record for Spartan Tennis in at least eleven years. This season’s success can be attributed, not only to the depth of skill on the team, but to the overall maturity and professionalism of the players.
The most memorable match of the season was not one which CMA won, but one which we narrowly lost. Nonetheless, the level of play at the number one position was inspiring. Max Feinman, an eighth-grader was matched up against Governor’s School’s John Eisenhouer, a senior. Feinman battled the larger, stronger (bearded) adversary to a 6-all tie in the first set, and then lost the tiebreaker 5-7. He was down one set to love, but Feinman’s spirit was indomitable. Early in the second set, he called one of the coaches to the fence. “I know his weakness now,” Feinman told his coach.
That weakness was the larger player’s backhand. During the second set, Feinman picked apart his opponent’s weaker side, methodically winning the second set 6-2. He went on to demonstrate his superiority in the match by closing Eisenhouer out 10-0, fists pumping as supporters cheered him on. CMA went on to lose the overall match 3-4, but the team walked away with a moral victory. They had, through hard work and tenacity, almost beaten a team that would later in the season hand CMA the third of their three defeats (0-7). It should be noted that Spring Break had just ended the day before this second meeting, and that the Spartan team had no practices together in which to prepare.
Aside from the two losses to Governor’s School and one loss to Wilson Hall, the Spartans rolled easily through their other matches, winning none by less than a margin of two. This success was doubtlessly owing to the depth of skill of the bottom half of the ladder. While the initially ranked top five players recorded a respectable winning ratio of between .375 and .692, the bottom four boasted winning ratios of between .727 and .800.
This apparent disparity is a refreshing change from previous years when typically, members of the lower half of the team ladder had to be taught fundamentals of tennis. This year, every player in the lower ladder came to the team with experience in competitive play, with strong skills and hungry attitudes. These players consisted of Zack McWilliams, Zach Azari and Morgan Singletary, three virtually interchangeable competitors as well as Jung-Soo Kang, a player with the skills to compete at almost any level on the team. With such a strong bottom half, the team was sure to win as long as the top half carried its own weight, which it did, according to statistics, more than half of the time.
Another likely contributor to this season’s success on the courts was the coaching strategy. Three years ago, Coach Ghaffar was joined by his assistant, Coach Darby. The coaches’ different styles and skills were complimentary, with Coach Ghaffar concentrating on the mechanics of the players’ weakest shots, while Coach Darby dealt with physical conditioning, drills and team morale