CH Ten­nis keeps rolling

Boys team sur­passes half­way mark, still un­beaten at 8-0

The Progress-Index - - SPORTS - By Nick Van­de­loecht Staff Writer

COLO­NIAL HEIGHTS - Over­all, they're young. But they still have ex­pe­ri­ence on their side.

And so far, they've been dom­i­nant.

The Colo­nials Boys Ten­nis team is more than half­way through its 15-match reg­u­lar sea­son. The Colo­nials have played eight team matches, and they've won all eight.

Com­ing off a 12-4 sea­son, an un­der­class­man-heavy group was back to lead the charge this year.

But Chase Ben­nett the only se­nior on the team and one of the play­ers in the Colo­nials' top six - said he knew that they'd be ex­pe­ri­enced, with three to four of the ju­niors hav­ing played with the team since eighth grade.

“I knew go­ing into the sea­son we weren't gonna have that much trou­ble get­ting back into form,” Ben­nett said.

“We're a deep and ex­pe­ri­enced team - our top 5's been on the team for the last three years,” ju­nior and #3 Pritesh Singh said. “They know how it works and know what we need to do com­ing into the sea­son.

“I know we lost our #1 (from last year), but every­one else just moved up in that ex­pe­ri­ence and skill level,” sopho­more and #1 Yusef Qazi said.

The Colo­nials were en­ter­ing 2018 with a new head coach in Ray Sells, who took over af­ter Michael Smi­elecki, and had worked with the team to­wards the end of the 2017 sea­son un­der Smi­elecki.

Sells pointed to his play­ers' ded­i­ca­tion, say­ing that just about ev­ery one of the Colo­nials' re­turn­ers do some type of train­ing over the sum­mer.

“They en­joy ten­nis, they love be­ing out here - off­days, they come out here, Spring Break they were out here play­ing,

some of them were play­ing two times a day," Sells said. "Their hard work... right now, they're just reap­ing the ben­e­fits of it."

The team spoke to im­prov­ing upon con­sis­tency through­out po­si­tions 1 through 6 and ac­cept­ing their step-up to the next po­si­tion.

"Last year we were play­ing not to lose," Singh added. "But this year we're hun­gry for success."

"We're pretty good enough to beat teams like York and Tabb and other peo­ple in our re­gion," Qazi said. "Once we cross that men­tal ob­sta­cle, I think we can re­ally suc­ceed."

And for the Colo­nials, go­ing 15-0 is among their goals.

"It'd be ex­tremely im­por­tant - as this is my se­nior year, I was [as a fresh­man] a part of the

team that made it all the way to the state qual­i­fiers, and that sea­son we went un­de­feated all the way up into the re­gional cham­pi­onship," Ben­nett said.

"To feel that un­de­feated feel­ing and car­ry­ing that into re­gion­als...would just lift us up and carry us through the re­gional play­offs."

Scofield said that he and Singh were eighth graders on the Colo­nials team that went un­de­feated.

"The best feel­ing was to put up a ban­ner over there...and to see what the team has done in the past," Scofield said, "and now that we're in the top six and with the qual­ity of a team that we have, we can do those same things. And to know that, just brings us more con­fi­dence and gives us more

of a strive to do what we know we can do.

The team has beaten its first eight op­po­nents by 6-3 or bet­ter. The Colo­nials won a 6-3 match over New Kent and a 7-2 match over Ma­toaca, a team they've lost to the past two years.

"Just beat­ing them 7-2, it's re­ally a con­fi­dence booster," Qazi said.

"And that's one of the main rea­sons we're [8-0] right now," Scofield added.

"That's car­ried over into each and ev­ery match and hope­fully it'll carry over into [to­day] as well."

But with post­sea­son tour­na­ments less than a month away, Sells noted they need to keep im­prov­ing more upon con­sis­tency and keep get­ting down the fun­da­men­tals.

And the play­ers did note that play­ing teams in reig­o­nals is an­other task.

"Each match that we take dur­ing the sea­son is one step to­wards that goal," Scofield said, "and to treat ev­ery match as it's a re­gion­als match is I think the most im­por­tant thing for us to do in up­com­ing matchups."

The Colo­nials, hav­ing beaten Prince Ge­orge on Mon­day at 9-0, re­matches Ma­toaca to­day (Tues­day, April 17) at Ma­toaca High School at 4:30 p.m. They'll then play Prince Ge­orge again on Thurs­day, April 19.

“It’d be ex­tremely im­por­tant - as this is my se­nior year, I was [as a fresh­man] a part of the team that made it all the way to the state qual­i­fiers, and that sea­son we went un­de­feated all the way up into the re­gional cham­pi­onship.”

Chase Ben­nett, Colo­nial Heights se­nior ten­nis player

[NICK VAN­DE­LOECHT/PRO­GRESSIN­DEX.COM]

Colo­nial Heights Boys Ten­nis player Pritesh Singh, seen here serv­ing the ball in last Thurs­day’s home match ver­sus Hopewell, is a part of the Colo­nials team that is cur­rently 8-0 head­ing into the sec­ond half of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

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