IR boys’ tennis leads the division as regular season winds down
Earlier this week, on Tuesday, May 1, Indian River’s boys’ varsity tennis team picked up a win over Polytech, improving their season record to 11-1 and maintaining an undefeated record in the Southern Henlopen Division.
The 5-0 victory was the team’s fourth consecutive sweep of opposing teams, and their sixth on the year. And with tough competition ahead, coach Paris Mitchell Jr. is hoping to ride the momentum as the regular season draws to a close next week.
“We played really well,” said Mitchell, following the Polytech match. “As a coach, you want your team to stay sharp, work on their game and improve on something each day, and these guys are doing just that.”
The Indians’ only loss this year came at the hands of Caesar Rodney, the defending state champions, in early April. But Mitchell is expecting his Indians to see most of those players again, at the Henlopen Conference Championship tournament later this month.
“We have a legitimate shot to have a couple guys win the conference championship,” said Mitchell. “Both of our doubles teams are very strong, and [Danny Seeley], our third-singles player, has been on a roll.”
But before the Indians get there, they’ll have to face Seaford again. Last season, the Indians fell short of the division championship after losing to Seaford. Despite sharing the same record and splitting matches with the Indians in last year’s schedule, the Blue Jays earned the top spot in the Henlopen South due to a higher number of games won.
So far this season, however, the Indians are on top, and with their 4-1 win over the Blue Jays in late March, they hold the edge in the matchup. And Indian River was scheduled to visit Seaford this week, too, on Thursday, May 3, (after Coastal Point press deadline).
“As long as we get at least two games,” said Mitchell, “we should hold the top spot in the Henlopen South this year, and win it outright. By now, the guys know each other, and they really look forward to these match-ups each season. Our guys really want to win the South this year. They’re going to come out and settle it on the court.”
Mitchell attributed much of this year’s success to the strong work ethic that his players have established in other sports, as well.
“These guys really look forward to competition,” he said. “They handle pressure well, and that’s probably because they’re involved in other sports, too. Most of our guys play soccer, and Indian River has had a great soccer program for quite some time.
“Our second- and third-singles players, Jung [Son] and Danny [Seeley] are on the swim team, too. And a guy like Jordan [Marshall], at our top spot, played on the football team that brought home the state championship this past season. In the end, most of these guys are out on the tennis courts to have fun, but because of their experience with other sports, they naturally bring it during matches.”
Following Thursday’s match at Seaford, the Indians will round out this season’s schedule at Appoquinimink High School on Thursday, May 10, before the Henlopen Conference Championship gets under way at Sea Colony in Bethany Beach next weekend.