Two Tennis Matches at Once, And Marauders Still Sweep

Valley News Correspondent
Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hanover — With weather patterns throwing a wrench into spring sports across the Upper Valley, the Hanover High boys tennis team has addressed its postponement woes with an unconventional rescheduling solution: The doubleheader.

In Thursday’s rare split-squad, split-site affair, Hanover swept Spaulding at Storrs Pond and Manchester Central at Hartford High School by a combined score of 18-0. All 12 of the Marauders’ varsity players were engaged in the simultaneous NHIAA Division 1 matches (both matches began at 4:30 p.m.).

Head coach Jarrod Shaheen oversaw the effort at Storrs while, athletic director Mike Jackson and Hanover girls coach Liz Murray presided over a clinic on the Hurricane courts that have become the Marauders’ frequent home-away-from-home this season.

“I think it was a genius idea,” said team captain Will Bonner, who held down the No. 4 spot with an 8-0 win at Hartford. “I had no idea that could even be done.”

Bonner expressed appreciation for today’s planned respite following a week that began with three consecutive road matches. The senior also pointed out the strength of Hanover’s squad.

“I think we have a deep lineup,” Bonner said. “I think some of our bottom players could be number ones on another team.”

Shaheen said that depth, talent and flexibility were all key factors in Hanover pulling off the twin-bill feat, to say nothing of the double sweep. The coach split his dozen competitors apart evenly using an approach that wasn’t “super scientific,” he said, adding: “I’m confident in all our players to get the job done.”

The player allocations kept normal doubles tandems intact. Although Thursday’s format demonstrated a sense of creativity on the part of Shaheen and Jackson, the coach said he hopes not to repeat it if possible.

“It’s nice to have all 12 kids here to cheer each other on,” Shaheen said. “It’s not ideal to do this, but it’s nice we have the flexibility to do this.”

Senior John He was Hanover’s No. 1 player at Storrs, emerging with an 8-3 victory.

“It was a little confusing and alarming,” He said regarding his temporary promotion from the No. 3 spot. “But overall, the match went fine.”

He was followed by No. 2 Aidan Biglow (8-1 victory), and No. 3 Jasper Meyer (8-2). Gary Li, Will Tarnowski and Lincoln Adam anchored the bottom half of the lineup with a trio of 8-1 victories.

Biglow, a sophomore, seemed to relish the opportunity Thursday’s scheduling anomaly provided.

“Next year, a lot of people are graduating,” he said. “I have the possibility to get the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, so it was good to get the experience at No. 2 (singles) and No. 1 doubles.”

All hands on deck against both the Red Raiders (1-8) and Little Green (2-7) on Thursday allowed each singles player to compete in a doubles match as well.

“I’m glad everyone here got to play two matches,” Meyer said. “It’s something we never do. It’s fun.”

The junior, familiar with the busy grind inherent to the tail end of a high school tennis season in the Upper Valley, seemed grateful both of Thursday’s matches came together.

“I’m excited just because it’s more tennis,” Meyer said. “For a second there, I thought we wouldn’t be able to get in enough matches. It’s nice of Hartford High School to help us out.”

Not to be spread too thin by their multiple match locations, the Marauders cruised to a victory over Central.

Noah Borell led the charge with an 8-3 win at No. 1 singles. Benny Gantrish won 8-2 in the second spot and Matt Bonner prevailed, 8-2, at No. 5. Matt Siegel, Will Bonner and Will Blinkhorn each shutout their opponents at the No. 3, 4 and 6 positions, respectively.

“I think everyone stepped up today,” said Murray, who coached the girls team in a same-site, same-teams doubleheader last season. “They adapted well to the way the lineup was going to be. I’m sure Coach Shaheen would be very proud of how they did.”

Hanover (6-2) will look to enjoy today’s rest before a daunting stretch that includes five matches in seven days beginning with Saturday’s contest at Keene (1-6).