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|Is it time to dethrone Hingham?|
|Tuesday, 05 April 2011 15:01|
Itâ€™s been awhile since Coach John Bunar has felt like knocking off Hingham was a definite possibility.
â€œI am excited about this year,â€ said Bunar. â€œWe once again have some of the nicest kids in the school on this team, and if our doubles pairings can win the battle against their lack of experience, we will be in the hunt for a state title. But defending state champion Hingham will be tough Patriot League and sectional competition for us.â€
Few teams on the South Shore can boast three singles players as talented as senior captain Brayden Minahan, junior Peter Muncey, and senior Connor Oâ€™Keefe.
â€œBrayden is the best player in the Patriot League by a healthy margin,â€ said Bunar. â€œI think that the only regular season matches he will not be favored in are the two with Cape Cod Academy. Last year he had a tough time with Jon Zelman, but I think heâ€™ll be ready this time around.â€
While Bunar bemoans the fact he will be losing a four-year starter at No. 1 singles at the conclusion of the season, it is just as hard saying good-bye to a player who is a great kid and team player.
Muncey is a lock at No. 2 singles and Bunar feels it has been quite a while since the Patriot League has had two singles player of this caliber. The Duxbury coach expects Muncey to breeze through the league schedule and be a high seed in the State individual tournament. Bunar feels his only regular season competition will come from Cape Cod Academyâ€™s No. 2 singles player Tyler Kugler, who Muncey beat last year 6-2/2-6/6-2 in the teamâ€™s 4-1 loss to the Cape squad.
Junior Connor Oâ€™Keefe will round out the singles trio that could make many matches end quickly.
â€œI expect Connor to have a big year,â€ said Bunar. â€œHis all-around, steady game will be hard to top for any No. 3 player in the Patriot League.â€
The Duxbury doubles teams will feature power, power and more power this year, as the big foursome of juniors Erik Schneider and Kevin Coakley, along with sophomores William Kingsbury and Will Triebel look to make their mark with big serves and overheads.
Schneider and Coakley have been penciled in at No. 1 doubles and Bunar is expecting big things from the duo. Look for high-percentage, big serving from both players, as they look to simply overpower their opponents.
â€œOne of the nice surprises of camp was how well these two are playing together this year,â€ said their coach.
Playing at No. 2 doubles will be Kingsbury and Triebel. Look for Kingsbury to use his experience to steady this duo, as the big hitting Triebel gets a few matches under his belt. This combination should make the DHS second doubles team tough for all opponents.
â€œWilliam can absolutely punish a tennis ball like very few players I have had over the years,â€ said Bunar. â€œGood luck to anybody in front of that thing.â€
Other players ready to step into doubles rolls for the Dragons include: junior Dale Day, sophomores Dan McHugh, Steve Kravits, Greyson Butler, Tommy Blanchard, Matt Abbott, and Tyler Sunderland, along with freshmen Andrew Farina, Ross Kellar, and Harry Sohmer.
With the Dragons returning game-tested veterans to the singles positions, the only uncertainty going into the season will be the doubles spots.
â€œWe have so much physical strength at doubles, that we just need some experience and a little more shot making skills to be good there,â€ said the Dragon coach.