The Bellarmine tennis season kicked off the beginning of March, causing excitement to emerge over speculation concerning rising WCAL power (St. Ignatius), new players and a new coach.
The Bells are already off to a hot start, amassing an impressive 8-2 overall record that includes five victories in league and a sole WCAL loss to St.Ignatius. The tennis team currently has 11 seniors out of a 16 man roster. Experienced veterans acknowledge that the change to a more senior-filled squad has contributed to greater results and even better technical improvement. Senior Captain and Navy Commit, Andrew Ton ‘17, stated that the “most important thing right now is to show that we are here to stay. In the WCAL SI is the biggest rival, I think. I understand that there is a Holy War with St. Francis, but we’re a little stronger.” Indeed, St. Ignatius has been a top WCAL contender. Recently, the Wildcats won 4-1 against the Bells in a matchup on March 9th at their high school – the two sides unable to complete 2 of the 7 matches because of logistical challenges.
Adam Foley ‘17 said “SI is the biggest threat to the title race. They are definitely beatable, but starting last year they recruited a lot of talent and now they are a big threat.” In his words, Adam recognizes, however, that the importance of team tennis will contribute to their WCAL run and not individuality. “Team tennis requires the effort of all the players in order to win. It doesn’t matter if you have one star on your team, you need everyone to contribute in order to win,” he quoted.
The loss of Vikram Vasan ‘16 who now plays collegiate tennis at Johns Hopkins University left room for rising upperclassmen to shine in the spotlight. Recently pulled up Rohit Subramanian ‘18 and Josh Leopold ‘18 lead the juniors on the team. Coach Leopold, Josh’s father, enters the coaching position in replacement of Coach Hansborough, working to help Bellarmine return to the CCS Finals for a third year against archrivals, Menlo School. Coach Leopold has also immediately impacted the team positively according to Adam. “I like Coach Leopold, he has helped us improve a lot, and he is a good coach. He knows what he is talking about, and he has definitely helped me improve my game,” he said.
Captain Andrew Ton’ 17 also reflected with The Bell on how his tennis career at Bell has carried him this far. Amidst numerous offers from NCAA Division powerhouses like Stanford, BYU, Alabama, TCU and a couple military academies, he chose the U.S Naval Academy in Maryland. “Going to Navy and having my recruiting trip there and meeting the people – the young men and women who sacrifice their lives for the country. Plus, Division 1 tennis. It all fit together. “
For the future of Bellarmine tennis this 2016-2017 season, it just might fit together as well.