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Pompton Lakes boys’ tennis benefits from change

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Jack Wallace talks about qualifying for the 2018 Paralympics in a video created for the Borough of Franklin Lakes
Courtesy of Erica Levan

POMPTON LAKES – With change comes opportunity.

Following a few timely moves and adjustments last season due to unforeseen circumstances, the Pompton Lakes boys’ tennis team is optimistic heading into the spring season.

“I had to move a few players around last year because our first singles player at the time missed most of the year,” said veteran head coach Matt Hales, who begins his 12th season at Pompton Lakes. “We graduated seven of nine starters, so we have some holes to fill and we’ll have to move players around again. But the returning players this season have some experience and they had playing opportunity last year because of different circumstances.”

Coming off a 14-win season in 2017, the Cardinals return a young, but experienced team that Hales believes will compete this spring.

The likely starter at first singles is junior Bryan Brush, who started last season at Second Doubles before moving up to third singles where he finished with an 8-1 record.

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“Bryan is likely our starter at first singles,” said Hales, who could not commit to any set positions until the weather breaks and the team gets outdoors for live workouts. “I moved Bryan up from the second doubles spot to third singles early last season and he played really well. He’s a year-round full-time tennis player and he’s constantly improving.”

Junior Billy Calabrese is penciled in at second singles after playing most of his sophomore season at second doubles.

At third singles, senior Dylan Krewer will have the opportunity to win the spot after playing in and out of the lineup last spring at second singles.

“All three of our potential singles players competed somewhere in our starting lineup last year,” said Hales.

The Cardinals’ doubles teams have yet to be determined, but Hales expects to name the lineup once the weather breaks and the team can get outdoors on the court.

Potential starters include senior Baker McNamara, junior Max Gordon and sophomore Shivan Patel.

“We have some options and players that are capable of competing,” said Hales. “It’s difficult to evaluate things with the weather and recent snow we’ve experienced. But hopefully I’ll know more before the end of March.”

The Cardinals compete in North Jersey Section 1 Group 1 and advanced to last year’s state quarterfinal round.

“We’re a relatively young team that will grow with experience,” said Hales, whose team doubled their win total last season compared to 2016. “It takes a little time to build chemistry. We’ll continue to get better as the season moves along.”

Pompton Lakes opens the season on April 3 against Waldwick.

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