July 26, 2017

Versatility and Unity – The Key to Tennis’ Success

by Jacob Hevenor ’17

Sports Editor

When rain descended upon the Brigham Athletic Complex after doubles play on Apr. 19, the mid-match move to Bass River Tennis Club in Beverly could have disrupted the Scots and ruined their momentum. However, in a response that encapsulated the Scots’ stellar season, they swept the necessary singles matches once play resumed.

Following that dominant 6-0 win over Western New England, Gordon Men’s Tennis extended its winning streak to an impressive eight straight matches with a 6-3 win over Endicott. The Scots (15-4, 6-1 CCC) have not just won their last eight; they have won them with authority, shutting out the opponent in four of those eight.

The players will admit that they have had ‘off days,’ but the team mentality has kept them strong. Mason Casady ’18 said that mental toughness is just as important as physical ability in those situations.

Casady said, “Each of us have improved our mental game to the point that we are able to win the mental battle each day, no matter if our game isn’t the best. This is something our coach has hammered down in us and that is one of the best things for us that helps us come out on top.”

Besides winning the mental battles, another key for the Scots has been their incredible depth from top to bottom this season. Head Coach Peter Amadon has the confidence to roll out anyone on the roster and knows that they will give the Scots a chance to win.

“This is the most balanced team I have ever coached,” Amadon said. He added a caveat that may give the Scots an additional edge. He said, “It’s not simply depth of talent, although that helps, but, more importantly, we share a depth of commitment.”

Player Mike D’Antuono ’18 emphasized the importance of depth. He said, “I think our team’s greatest strength is depth. Everybody on our team can push all the other players to make them better–this makes practices exciting and lively. Nobody on the team gives up, and we want to be a great team.”

The team’s theme this season, unity, has been crucial in their development. Players and coach alike claim that unity of both commitment and character are important to success. “[The players] want to compete for each other and for Gordon…Because they know their expectations and have fully committed to them together, they will not let each other down,” Amadon said.

“This year when we go out to matches we may step out on a court by ourselves, but we realize that the rest of the team is with us, supporting us, and counting on us to give our best effort,” D’Antuono said. “We have been working towards becoming a unified family, and this is what allows us to be prepared to take on all the tough teams and give it our all,” he continued.

The presence of individual stars, however, cannot be overlooked. Casady has been a force on the court this season, garnering two CCC Player of the Week awards. Casady and Nate Lookwhy ’19 have been nearly unbeatable at first doubles this spring with just one loss together. Coach Amadon said of the pair, “I am impressed with how much they have grown and developed throughout this year as a partnership. Each player individually has worked both on parts of their skill game and parts of their mental game to make their collective play better.”

Casady was complimentary of his partner Lookwhy. “Nate and I have reached the level where we predict each other’s moves and know how to respond, which has proven effective over and over again. Plus, Nate is just the bee’s knees,” he said.

With Casady and the team firing on all cylinders, playoffs loom just around the corner. The Scots are confident that they have the ability and drive to capture the conference title. D’Antuono looks forward eagerly to the challenge. “Regardless of what seed we get, I know that we are going to be ready physically and mentally to go out and play our best tennis. We love the competition and we love the big matches so we’re ready to take it to any team we come up against,” he said.

“We’re playing to win,” Coach Amadon said. “I refuse to limit that to a specific round or result, we want to win the tournament. Why not?”

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