by Tom Utescher
During a stretch of demanding Friends Schools League tennis matches, the racquetmen of Germantown Friends were able to improve their overall record last Wednesday with a fairly straightforward non-league victory over Barrack Hebrew Academy.
The 4-1 win moved the host Tigers above the .500 mark to 4-3 overall, while Barrack, a member of the Tri-County League, slipped to 6-2.
For GFS and most other tennis squads, poor weather early in the 2015 campaign limited the number of non-league bouts that could be played before league competition began. Starting out with a non-league win over Devon Prep, Germantown opened the FSL schedule by beating Westtown School, 4-1, but then the Tigers saw that score reversed repeatedly as they played three matches in a row against the toughest teams in the conference.
Following setbacks against Moorestown Friends, George School (still undefeated at this point), and Friends Central, GFS climbed to 2-3 in the league by sweeping Friends Select, 5-0, the day before the Barrack bout.
Coach Kim McMenamin explained, “Right now, it’s looking like our match against Shipley [at home this Tuesday] will determine which one of us gets into the league playoffs.”
Shipley also lost its head-to-head FSL meetings with Friends Central, Moorestown, and George.
In last Wednesday’s non-league encounter, GFS senior number one Matt Peterson got a good workout from Barrack’s Alex Woods. After taking the opening set, 6-2, Peterson dropped the second at 4-6, and then prevailed 10-2 in a tiebreaker that was played in lieu of a full third set. By the time the two players split sets, the Tigers had already won three other matches to clinch the team victory.
Peterson’s classmate and fellow co-captain, Evan Zaret, had been given the day off. Zaret, who will attend the University of Vermont, usually plays second singles for the Tigers. Another varsity regular, junior Si Affron, played an unofficial exhibition match on Wednesday.
For the Barrack match, Zaret’s singles spot was filled by Peterson’s ninth-grade brother, Tim, who overwhelmed the visitors’ Dan Cahana, 6-0, 6-1.
The Cougars claimed their lone victory at third singles, where they had Alec Cohen split the first two sets with GFS freshman Zak Schneider, each winning 6-4. With warm, fine weather, they decided to play a full third set, which went to Cohen, 6-3.
GFS fielded an all-senior line-up in the doubles flights. The top duo consisted of Jesse Overholser, who’s headed for Wesleyan next year, and the Amherst-bound Aaron Yang. They efficiently dispatched the visiting duo of Ari Nahmani and Matt Kolansky, 6-2, 6-0.
The Tigers’ Grant Kelly and Owen Burns, who played doubles together in 2014, as well, will both remain in-state next year. Burns has opted for Penn, while Kelly will head out to the University of Pittsburgh. The seasoned twosome recorded a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Barrack’s second doubles team of Jacob Stein and Sam Engle.