The Vineyarders have a host of new faces in 2018 after graduating six seniors from a team that finished 14-3 last season, pushing top-seeded and undefeated Dover-Sherborn to a decisive fifth match in a 3-2 loss in the Division 3 South Sectional semifinals.
They also have two new coaches. Tony Omer, a seasoned Island tennis player, and Ryan Sawyer, who played on back-to-back MVRHS state championship teams in 2012 and 2013 under legendary Coach Ned Fennessy and also played for four years at Colby-Sawyer College, take over the head coaching reins from Bill Rigali.
The 2018 Vineyard boys are a young group, with just one senior and two juniors in the starting lineup. “We have a young, talented team that works hard and works together well,” Omer said. “They are good students with a wide variety of interests and goals off the court. We have budding engineers, thespians, and musicians. They are skilled players who, for the most part, have years of tennis training with Vineyard Youth Tennis. We expect to give every team on our schedule a battle, and to be contenders in the state tournament.”
Sawyer concurred. “We’re definitely a very young team, with one senior, two juniors, and a bunch of sophomores and freshman,” he said. “They don’t have a lot of experience in terms of high school matches, but a lot of them have grown up playing at Vineyard Youth Tennis and USTA matches. It will be exciting to see what they can do at the high school level.”
Heading into the first scheduled match on April 11 at Eastern Athletic Conference foe Bishop Stang, the Vineyard starting lineup features freshman Max Potter at first singles, with sophomore Chris Ferry at second singles, frosh Eric Reubens in the third singles spot, sophomores Spencer Pogue and Owen Favreau playing first doubles, and captains senior Garrett Zeilinger and junior David Krauthamer playing second doubles.
Junior Harold Lawry V and freshman Wyatt Belisle are available on the Vineyard bench, and sophomore Wilson Riley is the team manager.
The first home match is set for Friday at 3 pm against Bishop Feehan, with Cardinal Spellman visiting the Ned Fennessy Courts in Oak Bluffs on Saturday at 11 am.