by Tom Utescher
After winning three out of four non-league tennis matches, Germantown Friends took on its toughest league opponent right at the start of the Friends Schools League season last Friday. Defending champion Friends Central, which was also making its FSL debut, knocked off the host Tigers, 5-0, in a contest that followed the standard league format of three singles and two doubles bouts.
GFS started out last week with a 2-1 overall record, having defeated Barrack Hebrew Academy and Jenkintown High School, while losing to the Hill School. On Wednesday, the Tigers played another member of Hill’s Mid-Atlantic Prep League, and here Germantown wrested a 3-2 decision from New Jersey’s Hun School. The Tigers prevailed by capturing all three singles flights, thanks to senior number one Zach Raynor, sophomore number two Matt Peterson, and freshman number three Sam Bunson.
Raynor, also a starter on the GFS soccer team, is headed to Tulane University, where he may opt to pursue one of his favorite sports on the club level.
The Germantown racquetmen are striving to secure a spot in the FSL playoffs, a goal they came tantalizingly close to achieving last spring. Finishing fifth, they missed the league tourney by one place, losing the battle for the last postseason berth to George School in a contest that hinged on a third-set tiebreaker.
Friends Central, which has won the league title four years in a row, arrived on School House Lane last Friday with an overall record of 6-1. The lone loss for the Phoenix came in the annual Mayor’s Cup Tournament, where they fell to La Salle High School, 2-5.
In the league opener, Raynor fell by a 6-2, 6-3 score in his first singles encounter with FC’s Sam Silver, a fellow senior who plans to continue his tennis career at Amherst College. In the second spot, Phoenix junior Max Ginsberg recorded a 6-1, 6-2 win against Peterson of the host team.
Bunson, the GFS freshman, hung tough against a visiting senior, Raj Singh. The Phoenix number three took the first set in a 7-5 tiebreaker, and won the second at 6-3. There’s also a Bunson who plays for Germantown Friends in the fall season; Sam’s twin sister Sophie is a member of the girls’ tennis team for the Tigers.
Two other GFS siblings joined forces at first doubles last Friday. Senior Madhav Nandan and his sophomore brother Pranav squared off against Friends Central’s Thomas Fakhazadeh (a senior) and Greg Lynn (a junior), who won 6-1, 6-3.
Each team had one junior and one sophomore in its second doubles tandem. The victors were FC 11th-grader Jonah Boscov-Brown and his younger partner, Elliot Gross, who earned a 6-1, 6-3 verdict over Germantown junior Neil Singh and sophomore Evan Zaret.