Coming off a down season in 2016, and with the Henlopen South division wide open in 2017, the Indian River High School boys’ tennis team is ready for redemption and to return the title to Dagsboro behind a squad of seasoned veterans.
Not only does the team bring back four seniors to the starting rotation but also head coach Mariano Woo for his second year at the helm.
After getting a late start last spring due to some unfavorable weather and bureaucratic red tape, things have been smooth sailing so far this spring as the Indians get ready for their first match of the season.
“We’re leaps and bounds ahead from starting last season,” said Woo. “Last year, I didn’t actually become the official coach until about a week prior to the first match, so it was much easier this year — plus, they’re all sophomores and above this year, so they’re more experienced.”
Taking the lead at first-singles for a third consecutive year is senior Mac Smith, who could make some noise at the Henlopen Conference championships with the graduation of Milford first-singles star Colt Williamson, who’s now playing first-singles at Salisbury University.
“Mac is an excellent athlete,” said Woo. “He’s adept at the game.”
Senior Patrick Mochiam will hold down the squad’s second-singles spot, after taking fourth in the third-singles bracket during last year’s Henlopen Conference tournament.
They’ll be joined by senior David Clark, who also returns to occupy the squad’s third-singles spot.
Also returning this season will be sophomores Luke McCabe and Brian Quezada. The doubles duo will make the jump to first-doubles in taking over for the team’s two graduated seniors from last year, Adam Izzo and Brandon Galliher.
The second-doubles team is still up in the air and will come down to a combination of newcomers, including senior Mikie Mochiam and sophomores Carlos Sandoval, Brian Quezada, and Juan Linares.
“Second-doubles is wide open because we had two seniors graduate last year,” Woo explained. “Right now, I have them playing doubles against each other. I’m having them switch partners after each set. By the time we play, we’ll know who’s won the most sets and the two with the highest numbers will be the exhibition.”
Considering the experienced lineup, hopes are high on the courts with the regular season approaching.
“I think we have a very good chance at going for the South division,” said Woo.
The Indians were set to start the season on the road with a matchup at Lake Forest on Wednesday, March 22, (after Coastal Point press time). They’ll host their first home match when they face 2016 South champion Milford on Friday, March 24, at 4 p.m.