BY MICHAEL KELLY
NISKAYUNA — Novices to the sport, Dilip Aaron and Ronan Schreer spent their time with the Niskayuna boys’ tennis program playing a lot of catch-up in terms of the game’s rules and required skills.
The senior rookies, though, never needed any help figuring out how to celebrate.
That showed at the Silver Warriors’ May 10 Senior Day win against CBA, a 9-0 victory for Niskayuna. Aaron and Schreer, playing in one of their few scoring matches of the season, punctuated an impressive 6-0, 6-0 victory with a three-part handshake. After a variety of hand slaps, the friends backed away from one another to each pantomime a basketball jump shot before converging with a fierce chest bump.
“That [last part] was a new edition to it,” a smiling Aaron said of the team’s post-match ritual.
“Our last match,” Schreer added, “so we wanted to go big with it.”
Aaron and Schreer tried to approach the entirety of this spring’s tennis season with an enthusiasm befitting their rookie status. Neither boy had played tennis in any meaningful way before this year — Aaron used to play football, while Schreer played soccer — but wanted to use the free time that goes along with being set-to-graduate seniors for something different.
“We wanted to have a fun senior year and tennis is a fun sport,” said Schreer, who said he’s headed to the University at Buffalo to study exercise science. “So we went for it.”
“I didn’t want to sit at home and just play video games,” said Aaron, who plans to study electrical engineering at Penn State University.
The boys already had friends on the team, which made the decision to join the tennis squad an easier one. So, too, did Aaron’s and Schreer’s desire only to play doubles together.
“We were like, ‘If we’re not great, we’re not great,’” Schreer said. “We just wanted to have fun with it.”
Still, the boys were serious in their approach to the endeavor. They worked to get better, and developed a cohesive style with Schreer playing at the net and Aaron patrolling behind him.
“He claims he can jump really high, so that’s why he plays at the net,” Aaron said of Schreer.
Coach Jim Neal — whose squad finished the regular season with three losses and in fourth place in the Suburban Council — said he enjoyed watching his senior rookies progress throughout the season.
“They’re totally different than they were before,” Neal said. “They can play now.”
But they also had their share of funny moments. In one game, Aaron accidentally hit his serve three times into his teammate’s body. Meanwhile, it took Schreer some time to grasp he needed to contain himself from raucously celebrating each point his team scored.
“You can’t do that, I learned,” Schreer said.
While they rarely played in scoring matches, Aaron and Schreer won each time they were in Niskayuna’s starting lineup this season. That was a point of pride for the duo, even though the boys never had aspirations of breaking into the Silver Warriors’ regular lineup.
“Most people we played had played a lot more than us,” Aaron said. “Their skills were a lot better than ours, so we’d have to adjust a lot.”
Neal said Aaron and Schreer received the biggest pre-match Senior Day cheer from their fellow Silver Warriors. The way they were accepted into the team meant a lot to the rookie duo.
“We weren’t the best players, but everyone supported us and we supported all of them,” Schreer said. “It was a great year.”
Results from the Niskayuna boys’ tennis team’s Senior Day win against CBA. In the 9-0 win, every player for the Silver Warriors was a senior, except sophomore Gabe Kammer. Missing from the lineup was senior Noah Daviero, who was injured.
Jeff Martin defeats Mike Kendrick: 6-0, 6-0
Jason Tang defeats Eddie Farrell: 6-0, 6-0
Zach Handleman defeats Nate Raia: 6-1, 6-0
Lars Dahl defeats Jake Bundy: 6-1, 6-4
Anthony Tangredi defeats Jacob Hite: 6-0, 6-0
Frank Wood defeats Jarrod Roberts: 6-0, 6-1
Patrick Chi & Adam Schnell defeats AJ Collins & Brandon Henges: 6-0, 6-2
Ari Levine/Gabe Kammer defeats Zach Kielb/Alex Rapp: 6-1, 6-0
Ronan Schreer & Dilip Aaron defeats Adam Shanno/Danan Quinn: 6-0, 6-0