copyright the Chronicle May 14, 2014
by Richard Creaser
NEWPORT — The North Country Falcons tennis team extended its winning streak to two matches and evened up their season record at 3-3 with a 4-3 win over the visiting U-32 Raiders on Thursday, May 8. Coming into the contest, Coach Gary Atchinson predicted that the victory would be attained or lost on the strength of the singles matches.
“Our top four are very strong with a lot of experience,” he said. “We kind of need that to balance out the fact that we have a lot of inexperienced players.”
The Falcons team has only nine players — the exact number needed to field a team for each match. With very little wiggle room, it falls on the team to perform to its maximum capability each and every time. So far, they have not disappointed, Coach Atchinson said.
“All of our matches have been very close,” he said. “A better start here, or a stronger finish there, and we would have a better record. We’ve had to forfeit some matches because we didn’t have enough players for one reason or another.”
All three of the matches North Country has lost against Harwood, BFA-St. Albans and Middlebury were by margins of 4-3. The Falcons have picked up two wins against U-32, both times by 4-3 margins while a win against Montpelier was 5-2.
One of the Falcons top four singles players, Nathan Marsh, is a surprising new addition to the team. Marsh, a senior, only started playing in his junior year. Since the age of four, he has played primarily hockey and soccer.
“There just was never a spring sport that interested me,” Marsh said. “But I’ve been friends with Thomas [Durivage] and Travers [Parsons-Grayson] for years and last year they convinced me to try out. I fell in love with it.”
While there isn’t much in common between Marsh’s three chosen sports, one unexpected benefit of his unusual trio of activities has transferred over.
“I have a really great backhand,” Marsh said. “Normally, I guess, the backhand is the harder stroke to use. But because of my wrist shot in hockey, I’m actually very comfortable with it.”
While new to the sport, Marsh’s experiences in team sports, and his growing comfort with tennis, makes him and his fellow top four singles players, Durivage, Parsons-Grayson and Fred Petzoldt, provide the kind of leadership that really inspires their teammates, Coach Atchinson said.
“Seeing my seniors play let’s them really visualize where they could go with their game,” the coach said of his younger players. “It’s one thing to tell them how to play and quite another to see what you’ve taught them put in action. They are role models of what can be achieved and that’s very important and inspiring.”
Parsons-Grayson dispatched Aaron Thompson 6-1, 6-1 in the number-one singles match, while Durivage ousted Ethan Fielder 6-0, 6-0 in number-two singles. Marsh battled Chris Alderghetti to a 6-3, 6-1 win in number-three singles.
U-32 responded in force when Zach Elmore and Nick Grace took the number-one doubles contest from Falcons Henry DeLaBruere and Corey Davis 6-1, 6-3. Raider Corey Kline then ousted Falcon Paul Croizet 6-0, 6-1 in the number-five singles. That left just the number-four singles and number-two doubles matches to determine the team win.
“That makes both of these matches as important as ever,” Coach Atchinson said.
Fortunately for the Falcons, Petzoldt was able to defeat Jacob Toro 6-2, 6-2 to capture the number-four singles match and secure the team win for the Falcons. But that didn’t diminish the battle for the number-two doubles contest. Despite falling behind early in both sets, Falcons Ian Major and Nathan Grimm fought back valiantly nearly forcing a tie-breaker set. In the end, however, the early gains by Raiders Jordan Moore and Logan Middleton proved too much as U-32 took both sets 6-4, 6-4.
With their win the Falcons evened their season record at 3-3 while U-32 slipped to 1-6 on the year.
contact Richard Creaser at [email protected]
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