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The Northern Star

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Boys’ Tennis rallies hope for upcoming season

Tryouts for the NVD boys’ tennis team began on Monday, March 11, with returning players and incoming freshmen preparing for the upcoming 2024 season. The boys have been working hard all year to prepare for the season, and soon, their dedication will show. With the loss of two seniors, the boys have big shoes to fill. Coach Johnson and Coach Gray are prepared to lead the boys through their journey this season and get to work in winning matches. 

Last year, during the 2022 to 2023 season, the team suffered the loss of a valuable player, Senior Roan Ricci, due to a collarbone injury. Despite lacking their star player, the boys came out third in their division. With the upcoming spring season starting, Ricci is back, and new players have stepped up to fill in for last year’s seniors. Sophomore Andrew Piekny describes how the team adapts to a new lineup after two seniors graduated.

“I would say that we’re accommodating to losing them in a good way. We’re sad, we lost two great players, but you know what, we’re gonna have hope and hope that we get pretty far” Piekny said. 

However, with a record of eight wins and 10 losses last season, the boys are stepping up and working to improve their skills. Varsity Coach Dave Johnson expresses his expectations for the boys this season. 

Man with racket in front of tennis ball.
(Photo courtesy of Vector Portal)

“I expect the boys to improve on last year’s 8-10 record and become more consistent throughout the season,” Johnson said. “We play a very tough schedule, so to be successful and win some big matches, we must practice with a purpose so we can become more consistent and have the confidence needed.” 

The NVD and NVOT sports teams tend to be each other’s biggest rivals. So, when it comes to tennis, Old Tappan is a big competitor. Playing in one of the best divisions in the county, Johnson acknowledges the challenges the boys will face with the season quickly approaching. 

“The Norsemen play in one of the most competitive divisions in Bergen County with Old Tappan and Tenafly in it. Both Old Tappan and Tenafly won their sections last year and return most of their teams. In the North 1 Group 2 section, the Norsemen will also face tough competition against Pascack Hills and River Dell,” Johnson said. 

Despite the team’s impressive skills, one of their biggest struggles is consistency. 

“Consistency is one aspect of our game that we struggled with last year. I believe the main reason for the lack of consistency last year was the lack of match-play experience,” Johnson said. 

However, the boys are ready to improve and have been putting in the time during the off-season to be the best they can be for this season. Piekny shares how he wants to improve for this season.

“I am looking to improve by making more strokes and being an overall better tennis player,” Piekny said.

Another player on the team, Junior Avi Huber, also has plans to improve from last season.

“I want to improve by winning close matchups that we lost last season,” Huber said. 

Johnson, too, has been following his boys in their off-season to see how they have been improving. He has noticed great improvement and is pleased with the boys’ work. 

Man playing tennis on a tennis court.
(Photo courtesy of Freerange)

“We have an extremely young team who gained a tremendous amount of experience last year. Five of the starters from last year’s team have tournament experience (Bergen County or State Tournament),” Johnson said. “I am looking forward [to seeing] how much the boys improved in the off-season and how we match up against other teams in the County.”

With all their hard work and dedication during previous seasons, the off-season, and now the beginning of the 2024 to 2025 season, Johnson looks forward to the boys making him proud.

Tennis racquet lying on tennis court.
(Photo courtesy of Carefree Racquet Club)

“I will say it seems like many have trained for this upcoming season, and all the guys seem really motivated to get better each day,” Johnson said. 

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About the Contributor
Niki Feiner
Niki Feiner, Staff Writer
Hi, I’m Niki. I am a sophomore at NVD, and I am really excited to be writing for the Northern Star this year. I play varsity tennis for our high school’s team, which I love. I can’t wait to continue my journey with this paper and share my ideas. 
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