Fall to North Andover, edge Malden

Published April 18, 2019


NORTH READING — The NRHS boys’ tennis team brings back plenty of experienced players in 2019 as they look to return to states.

“That’s definitely one of our goals, but we’re going to have to play at a high level consistently to achieve that,” said head coach Mark Bisognano when asked about the team’s prospects at a state tournament this season. “This is a quality group of young men who are capable of pulling it off and we’re all focused on making that goal a reality.”

The Hornets will lean on a strong senior class this year.

“We have a lot of the team back and this is kind of a last hurrah for this senior group of Trevor Wilson, Ryan Landers, Seth Hemley, Mike Tyrrell, and Duncan Macneil,” said Bisognano. “They have been such a big part of the team for the last four years and I’m hoping that we can find a higher level of success this season for them.”

Wilson and Hemley are two returning captains from last year. Landers was last year’s first singles player. Tyrrell played most of last season at third singles. Landers and Tyrell will join Wilson and Hemley as captains this year. Macneil is also experienced as are juniors Ethan Pelmas and Mateo Florez as well as sophomore Jonathan Belinowiz.

Landers, Wilson, Seth Hemley, Tyrell and freshman Jordan Hemley are all battling it out for the top two spots according to Bisognano, who considers that a positive as the players will only push each other to improve which typically creates good depth.

“We have a situation where there isn’t a clear ‘best’ player but our fifth best player will be close to as good as whoever ends up holding the number one spot,” said Bisognano. “That will hopefully mean strength throughout our lineup.”

After those five, that would mean two more spots to fill on second doubles. Florez, Pelmas, Belinowiz, Macneil and sophomore Preston Lydotes will all get a shot at varsity.

As long as the entire group can focus on working together to improve, the Hornets could have a very strong season.

“The whole attitude of the team has been great.  Everybody is working hard and they genuinely seem to enjoy being at practice each day,” said Bisognano.

 Fall to North Andover in opener

The Netmen took on North Andover in their first match of the season on April 4 and suffered a 4-1 defeat to the Scarlet Knights. Seth Hemley and Jordan Hemley picked up the lone win of the match at first doubles in a tough three set affair.

At first singles, Landers won the first set and got off to a good start in the second set. But unfortunately his opponent turned things around and won the final two sets to win the match. The Scarlet Knights went on to win at second singles, third singles and second doubles in straight sets to take the match.

Squeeze past Malden 3-2

The Hornets hosted the Malden Golden Tornadoes on April 11 and won 3-2 to earn their first victory of the season.

Jordan Hemley barely broke a sweat at third singles and improved to 2-0 on the season with his 6-0, 6-0 victory. At first doubles, Macneil and Lydotes teamed up for a convincing win 6-1, 6-2. Pelmas and Belinowiz clinched the match at second doubles with an overpowering 6-1, 6-1 victory.

Landers faced a talented eighth grader at first singles. Even though his opponent is only a middle school student he is an accomplished junior player who took down Landers in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.  At second singles, Tyrrell fell in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.

With the first win on the board, the Hornets are hoping to see many more.

“I think that the first goal is compete day in and day out,” said Bisognano. “We know that the CAL is a good tennis league and we want to be known as a tough team to play against.  Hopefully that will lead to a tournament berth and a strong record as a team.”

NR hosted a talented Hamilton-Wenham team on Tuesday after press time. Their next match is scheduled for April 24 at home against Pentucket.