ConVal boys’ tennis looks to build experience

ConVal's Owen Beaulieu goes for a shot against Bow.

ConVal's Owen Beaulieu goes for a shot against Bow. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal's Finnbar McCullough slams a shot against Bow.

ConVal's Finnbar McCullough slams a shot against Bow. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal's Jacob Levitz puts one over the net against Bow.

ConVal's Jacob Levitz puts one over the net against Bow. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal's Brady Clark returns a shot against Bow.

ConVal's Brady Clark returns a shot against Bow. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal's Nathan Janis hits a shot against Bow during Tuesday's match.

ConVal's Nathan Janis hits a shot against Bow during Tuesday's match. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

ConVal tennis player Bishop Benham returns a shot against Bow during the Cougars' loss to the visiting Falcons in Peterborough Tuesday.

ConVal tennis player Bishop Benham returns a shot against Bow during the Cougars' loss to the visiting Falcons in Peterborough Tuesday. PHOTO BY BEN CONANT/BEN CONANT PHOTOGRAPHY

By BEN CONANT

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 04-11-2024 8:46 AM

The ConVal boys’ tennis team comes into the season with almost no experience and a lot of work to do, but coach Mike Young relishes the challenge of building a full roster of players from the ground up.

“You’ve got to start from the basics, which takes a long time,” said Young, now in his 19th year coaching the Cougars. “And we haven’t had much time this year.”

The region’s unseasonable April blizzard kept ConVal off the court and forced some Adams Playground shoveling. The Cougars got their first match in, a 9-0 loss at Goffstown, before missing a match and several practices due to the weather.

Tuesday’s home opener, though, took place on a beautiful, sunny, 70-degree day with only a few vestigial snow piles here and there. ConVal won only one game last spring and graduated its entire roster, and this year, the Cougars started with just three interested players before recruiting efforts turned up enough to field a six-player roster.

Young credited Athletic Director Kevin Proctor for sparking enough interest around the school to put the team together. Now, the Cougars just need to get some reps.

“It’s just a question of getting them out there,” Young said. “Usually, I would just have them play, but most of the kids don’t have the strokes to do that, so I have to teach them the strokes and then teach them how to score, which is a challenge for some. So it’s going from the ground up.”

ConVal’s No. 1 is Brady Clark, who Young said is the most experienced. Behind him is four-sport athlete Bishop Benham, a wrestler and football lineman who is double-suiting this spring in track and tennis, bringing an ambidextrous stroke and athletic competitive edge to the court.

Nathan Janis shows some promise at No. 3, and Owen Beaulieu is confident and looking to improve at No. 4. Finnbar McCullough is getting better at No. 5, and Jacob Levitz is making strides at No. 6.

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The Cougars haven’t won a game yet this season after Tuesday’s 9-0 sweep at the hands of the visiting Falcons, last year’s Division II runner-up, but they have the right attitude and, as mostly underclassmen, plenty of time to get better.

“They’re all great kids,” Young said. “They’re all nice, respectful kids. So, you know, I’m looking forward to my 19th year.”

ConVal (0-2) was scheduled to play at Hollis-Brookline Wednesday after press time and then host the Cavaliers on Monday.