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DLN ALL-AREA: Largent coaches Unionville to another big season

UNIONVILLE >> The sun always rises in the east and sets in the west. Oh, and the Unionville boy’s tennis team is going to be a powerhouse.

Under head coach Sharon Largent, the Indians’ dominance on the tennis courts has risen to a rarified level. Like death and taxes, it has become a certainty.

“I feel like we’ve developed a culture of winning,” said Largent, the Daily Local News’ 2016 All-Area Boys Tennis Coach of the Year. “It requires commitment from the players, the parents, the school and me. We train every weekend during the winter months.”

For the seventh time in the last eight seasons, Unionville captured the Ches-Mont American Division crown. But as amazing as that run is, how about this: the Indians have dropped just two Ches-Mont team matches since 2009.

This spring, Largent’s squad was 13-1 in the regular season, and unbeaten in the Ches-Mont. And even though Unionville had an excellent singles player in freshman Tristan Bradley, and — as always — a bunch of very good doubles players, it wasn’t Largent’s best. In fact, the Indians’ singles depth was a big shaky.

“I am really proud of what this team was able to accomplish because we did it with a full team effort,” she said. “We had Tristan at No. 1, but then we let the doubles carry us the rest of the way. In our league season, we never got a victory out of the Nos. 3 or 4 singles spots.

“We really did the same thing in previous seasons. Without the doubles courts, we are not going to win the league. And we knew it heading into this season.”

The Indians earned as the fifth seed for the District 1 Tournament, but the lack of singles depth led to a loss to eventual state champion Lower Merion. That problem is going to be addressed in a big way in 2017 when Bradley’s younger brother, Ethan, comes into the fold.

“Ethan is also a tournament-level player like his brother,” said Largent, who has been at the helm for nine seasons. “Having both of them is going to be a lot of fun.”

With that kind of power at the top, and the usual array of fine doubles players, Unionville will be a heavy favorite to dominate the Ches-Mont once again. For whatever reason, some programs just don’t seem to value doubles play as much as singles — but not at Unionville.

“We train our doubles teams together all year long,” Largent explained. “The boys are awesome because they buy into it, and they take pride in being doubles players. They specialize in it and don’t see it as a negative thing.

“They understand that every flight is worth a point. They get that.”

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