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March 25, 2010

Boys' tennis tramples Watkins Mill

by Ava Wallace, Online Editor-in-Chief
BLAZER TENNIS COURTS, March 25 -

The boys' tennis team (3-0) smashed the Watkins Mill Wolverines (0-3) 7 - 0 in their third match of the season. Previously this week, Blair defeated the Richard Montgomery Rockets in their home opener and the Northwest High School Jaguars; the Blazers beat both teams 6 – 1.

Blair dominated all seven matches against the Wolverines, winning each match in straight sets in under one hour. As a whole, the team only dropped three games. The boys were confident going into the match because of Watkins Mill's Division III status. "We didn't expect much from them," senior captain Jason Albanese said. "They had trouble hitting the ball back and problems with consistency from the beginning."

The Blazers were able to capitalize on the Wolverines' weaknesses primarily by being aggressive at the net and serving efficiently. Senior co-captain Dukyoung Park, first singles player, finished his opponent off in roughly half an hour because of his skillful serves, according to coach David Ngbea. "Dukyoung's opponent was not even able to return his serves. The points were quick and easy," he said.

The other matches were similar to Dukyoung's because the team did especially well at net. According to senior co-captain Rohan Puttagunta, the players showed improvement just from the previous day's match. "We need to work on being better at the net, but today we were much more aggressive and had improved our volleys a lot from yesterday," he said.

The boys' impressive scores can also be attributed to their improved communication. "Doubles, especially, is all about communication," Ngbea said. "[The doubles players were] talking a lot today and as a result, they did that a lot better." The newly talkative athletes dropped only one game between the three pairs, which contributed to the overall shutout.

Though Blair was able to quickly defeat Watkins Mill, Ngbea acknowledged that the team must continue to improve as they face tougher competitors within Blair's Division I in the coming weeks. "Whitman is loaded. W.J. is loaded. Wootton is loaded," he said. "If we can handle our volleys and continue to grow, then we should have good chances against them down the road."

Albanese agreed that Blair's prospects are good this season and added that the solid performance against Watkins Mill was a reflection of the well-balanced and talented team. "The team's better than it has been in a couple of years. We've got a good mixture of experience," he said. "Hopefully we'll all practice over spring break and come back ready for Q.O. on Wednesday."

Blair's next home game is Tuesday, April 13 against Walter Johnson at 3:30 p.m.



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