Boys Tennis: Fun, winning mix for Niskayuna squad

Niskayuna boys tennis head coach Jim Neal, left, talks with Patrick Chi during an April 29 match with Colonie in Schenectady. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)Niskayuna boys tennis head coach Jim Neal, left, talks with Patrick Chi during an April 29 match with Colonie in Schenectady. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

BY MICHAEL KELLY
Gazette Reporter

SCHENECTADY — Some days are meant to be all about competition. Wednesday’s match against Colonie was not one of those days for the Niskayuna boys tennis team.

That was not a bad thing — far from it.

“It’s a rare kind of day,” veteran Silver Warriors head coach Jim Neal said.

Neal’s squad had a split mission at Central Park against Colonie, one of the more inexperienced squads in the Suburban Council. Neal removed many of his top players from the lineup and relied on his team’s depth to carve out a 9-0 victory. Meanwhile, the Silver Warriors’ traditional scoring players watched their less-experienced teammates for a bit before heading off to play a few holes of disk golf in the park.

Niskayuna boys tennis team's John Hess prepares to serve during an April 29 match with Colonie in Schenectady. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

Niskayuna boys tennis team’s John Hess prepares to serve during an April 29 match with Colonie in Schenectady. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

“We all like playing in the lineup, but it’s nice for the guys that play exhibitions to get in the lineup, too,” said junior Jeff Martin, a top player for Niskayuna who sat out against Colonie.

On the court, the Silver Warriors’ adjusted lineup had no issues with Colonie. Niskayuna received a forfeit in the third doubles match and only dropped four total games in the match.

Martino An and John Hess played in the second doubles spot for Niskayuna. Hess, a sophomore, said the duo always plays together, but that the chance to play in a scoring match with heightened intensity helped the pair.

“We’re always looking to get better,” said Hess. “There’s no match we can take lightly.”

Nick Lau, a senior, generally plays from either the Nos. 1 or 2 spots in the Niskayuna lineup. Through their match against Colonie, the Silver Warriors were 5-1 for the season and one of the top teams in the Suburban Council. With sectionals looming in the near future, Lau said it was important to have a match like April 29’s where Niskayuna could see some of its greener players in the scoring lineup.

“We could all use a little more playing time, more match experience,” he said. “It’s always fun to watch the people that don’t normally play. Everyone deserves a chance to play.”

Niskayuna boys tennis' Jeff Martin prepares to take a shot in a game of disk golf April 29 in Schenectady. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

Niskayuna boys tennis’ Jeff Martin prepares to take a shot in a game of disk golf April 29 in Schenectady. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

Lau and Martin were two of about a half-dozen Niskayuna players that ended up spending the second half of the match playing several holes of disk golf, a game in which one tosses disks at a target.

“This is the adventurousness of the Niskayuna tennis team,” joked team member Noah Levine.

After the team’s match, Levine celebrated his birthday with his teammates in the day’s sunshine with cake. Sitting in the middle of his team, Levine wore a blue shirt reading “Life is good.”

Neal was not one to argue with the message.

“This is the best day we’ve had all year,” he said.


 

The Niskayuna boys tennis team picked up a 9-0 victory April 29 against Colonie at Central Park in Schenectady. Here are Niskayuna’s winners from the match

  • 1st singles: Justin Hsu (6-0, 6-1)
  • 2nd singles: Jason Tang (6-0, 6-0)
  • 3rd singles: Clemens An (6-0, 6-0)
  • 4th singles: MinGon Kim (6-1, 6-1)
  • 5th singles: Gurseerat Kingra (6-0, 6-0)
  • 6th singles: Lars Dahl (6-0, 6-0)
  • 1st doubles: Sam Finn and Adam Schnell (6-0, 6-0)
  • 2nd doubles: Martino An and John Hess (6-1, 6-0)
  • 3rd doubles: Forfeit

About the Author

Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly is a sports reporter for Your Clifton Park and Your Niskayuna, weekly print publications of The Daily Gazette. Kelly grew up in Clifton Park and graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 2006. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. Kelly's work has been honored by the New York News Publishers Association, the New York State Associated Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. His work has previously been featured in The (Amsterdam) Recorder, The Saratogian, and Albany Times Union.