Making a Racquet

The men's tennis team is ready to dominate this season.

Zahra Khan

If you were to drive by Bennett Park on a day in the afternoon, you would see the tennis courts filled with a variety of tennis players ready to play. There’s a group of boys in blue who stands out cheering the loudest. Their cheers challenge those of all the other teams at the match. Teamwork is what the men’s tennis team at LHS is all about. This year, the team is ready for what this season has in store, including the chance to go to the State competition.

“Our team goals are to win our fifth consecutive Conference and District Championship and become the first LHS men’s tennis team to make it to the State team championship,” head varsity coach Andy Schneider said. Since the end of February, the boys have been putting a lot of time and effort into their practice. The beginning of the season is a lot of running drills and matches where the teammates play against each other to get placed in Varsity, J.V. or the C team. To be on the team, students must be committed to coming to practices and games. Before the season started, the players raised funds for the team by doing an online fundraiser.

“We were raising money for uniforms because our team believes in the ‘look good, feel good, play good’ strategy,” sophomore Trenton O’Bannon said. “That money also goes toward our team meals for away matches and other things that make the team able to function.”

Winning or losing isn’t the only difficulty on the court. Athletes say that developing good chemistry with a partner can be demanding.

“Tennis can be challenging,” junior Parker Fung said. “It can be frustrating playing doubles because you can get mad at your partner. You have to remember we’re all on the same team.”

Practice isn’t always just drill after drill. Besides practicing on the court for hours, the team also has some fun with its traditions, such as “Mixtape Mondays.”

“In the past, we have done what’s called ‘Mixtape Mondays,’” Fung said. “Someone will be assigned on a Monday to play a playlist. It makes practice more fun.”

The team is ready to put their best effort into every game.

“You want to go into each match with the mindset that you will win,” freshman Cole Johnson said.

These players not only work on building on their skills but also on being a team that supports each other.

“Teamwork means doing whatever it takes on an individual level to succeed as a team, even if it is not what you want to do,” senior Owen Mulcahy said. “Some guys may want to play higher on the ladder or play doubles with different people, but our coach puts them where they need to be for the team to be most successful.”

At the same time, tennis is seen as more of an individual sport.

“Tennis is a solo sport most of the time, but for school tennis, it’s a team sport, so we have to carry each other and rely on each other,” O’Bannon said. “We have to trust our teammates to win and play their best and we have to make sure we don’t let them down.”

This team has several goals for their season. The main goal is to send the entire team to the State competition. Historically, the team has never sent the entire team to State.

“This year, not only are we running for Districts and Sectionals, but we are also looking to make the top four at the state tournament, meaning we will need to beat our longtime rival, Rockhurst, a team that we have lost to for years,” Mulcahy said.

The team also emphasizes that they do everything together.

“We win and lose as a team,” Mulcahy said. “If one of us succeeds, we all celebrate that success as a team, but if one of loses we regroup and support that guy however we can.”