STANDISH — The Blazes captured a 3-2 victory on the road at Bonny Eagle on Monday afternoon, April 24, thanks to singles players Landon Sjoberg and Jameson Waldron as well as doubles tandem Tarek Fawzi and Matt Keef. The four took their respective bouts vs. the Scots, combining to secure the season-opening result.
“Our depth was tested early,” said Westbrook head coach Sam Johnson. “We had four guys make their varsity debuts: Landon Sjoberg, Jack Shibles, Matt Keef and Tarek Fawzi.”
In the No. 1 singles matchup, Bonny Eagler Fynn Frenzel topped Westbrooker Dylan Ho 6-2, 6-0. Bonny Eagle head coach Hossein Miremadi praised Frenzel’s technique. “Frenzel was decisive with his ball placement and execution,” Miremadi said.
Ho is filling in at No. 1 for the Blazes right now, but he’s a very able tennis player nonetheless.
“We had very strong play from our interim No. 1,” Johnson said. “Dylan had to square off against a very talented player who had, at times, an overpowering serve. I thought Dylan did a tremendous job of keeping his composure throughout the match and continuing to play hard regardless of the score. He got caught giving his opponent a couple of freebies with double faults and unforced errors, which came back to haunt him.”
No. 2 singles man Sjoberg, new to the Blazes this year, took down Bonny Eagle’s Graham Munro-Ludders 6-1, 6-7 (2-7), 6-1.
“Landon decided to play tennis just a few weeks before the nets were up,” Johnson said. “He picked up a racket and was instantly able to hold his own on the court. He steadily worked his way up the ladder before the start of the season.”
“Landon has great intangibles and instincts on the court,” Johnson said. “He does a great job at the net and uses his length to control the match. At one point, Monroe-Ludders fired a passing shot that was surely a winner, but Landon had other plans. He tracked the ball and actually took his eyes off it while he lunged for it with a backhand that connected and stunned his opponent.”
“The battle between Munro-Ludders and Sjoberg was fun to watch,” Miremadi said. “There were many great points, and after splitting sets, Sjoberg did a great job regaining the momentum to finish off Munro-Ludders. This was the turning point of the match, giving Westbrook the victory.”
No. 3 singles man Waldron (“The Wall”) defeated Scot Aidan Rausch 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).
“Jameson stepped up big time, winning his game in straight sets,” Johnson said. “Jameson is a gifted player with a ton of varsity experience. His backhand looked particularly sharp, something we have been working on in the practices leading up to the season opener.”
Bonny Eagle first singles duo Evan Smith and Caleb Curtis defeated Westbrookers Ian Douglass and Jack Shibles 6-2, 6-3.
“I was very impressed with the performance of my first doubles team,” Miremadi said. “They executed the game plan well and put points away quickly.”
Douglass and Shibles were playing their first match together, and, in fact, Shibles was playing his first varsity match, period. “Jack worked his tail off in practice over April break to earn himself a spot in the lineup,” said Johnson. “The two had some very encouraging moments together on the court. I thought they played exceptionally well together, considering the circumstances. We will look to get more doubles reps in practice in the following days, but it can be tough once the season starts.”
For Johnson’s money, “the match of the day, undoubtedly, belongs to Matt Keef and Tarek Fawzi.” Keef and Fawzi defeated Scots Zach Walker and Brandon Hogan 6-3, 6-3.
“Two players making their varsity debuts, and discovering their spot in the lineup just hours before the match,” Johnson said. “They won in straight sets in the clinching moments of the match to give our team the win. Matt dominated the net and actually practiced a new serve technique during warmups. I said to Matt after the match, ‘Where did you learn to serve like that?’ and he responded ‘I changed my mechanics during warmups – I completely reinvented my serve.’
“Tarek also played an extremely efficient match. You would have thought these two had played hundreds of matches together before. They seemed to anticipate each other’s movements and communicated throughout the match. At one point during the match, Tarek hit a shot deep out of bounds and Matt looked at him and just sort of gave him the ‘we’re-OK-we’re-all-right, just-calm-down’ look, something you don’t typically see from players making their varsity debuts.”
Westbrook hosted Gorham on Wednesday the 26th; they travel to Sanford on Friday the 28th. Bonny Eagle, meanwhile, traveled to Scarborough on Wednesday. They welcome Windham on Friday.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME
Ian Douglass (seen here) and partner Jack Shibles came up a little short vs. Bonny Eagle on Monday.
Jack Shibles returns a difficult ball vs. Bonny Eagle on Monday.
Evan Smith, seen here, and teammate Caleb Curtis paired up to defeat Westbrook’s first-doubles duo.
Caleb Curtis returns a forehand as one-half of Bonny Eagle’s winning first-singles duo.
The Blazes’ Jameson Waldron took his battle with Bonny Eagler Aidan Rausch on Monday.
Landon Sjoberg – new to the courts for Westbrook, but also a natural talent – took his first-ever competition matchup, vs. Bonny Eagle’s Graham Munro-Ludders.
Aidan Rausch returns a volley in his third singles bout with Westbrooker Jameson Waldron.
Bonny Eagle’s Graham Munro-Ludders couldn’t quite keep up with his Westbrook opponent on Monday afternoon.
Bonny Eagle’s Fynn Frenzel unwinds into a forehand vs. Westbrook’s Dylan Ho.
Dylan Ho, filling in at No. 1 singles for the Blazes at present, batteld admirably vs. Bonny Eagler Fynn Frenzel on Monday, but found himself overmatched in the end.