East Marlborough >> The Unionville High School boys’ tennis team is both young and deep this spring, and both qualities were on display Tuesday as the Longhorns defeated visiting West Chester Henderson, 7-0.
From sophomores Matt Miller and Andrew Ou at the top two singles spots, to the freshman duo of Tucker Carroll and Jacob Duran at fourth doubles, the Longhorns swept all seven matches in straight sets.
And the depth of youthful Unionville talent doesn’t stop there.
“We have four freshmen at fourth doubles, including Ryan Hart and Elijah Yoon, who are interchangeable – we can flip-flop them at fourth doubles, I call them 4A and 4B,” said Unionville boys’ tennis head coach Jimmy O’Rourke.
Earlier this month, O’Rourke said, “Our team has one of its best freshman classes this year in quality and quantity, so we hope to be a top team for years to come.”
This bumper crop of freshmen is added to a Unionville squad that advanced to the round of eight at the PIAA 3A State Team Tennis Championships in Hershey last spring. Nearly every Longhorn that contributed to that success is back this spring.
Miller, who played third singles for Unionville as a freshman, earned a 6-3, 6-1 decision Tuesday to boost his record at first singles to 4-1 this spring.
“I’ve been working on my serve and forehand (in Unionville’s first few matches),” said Miller. “I wanted to improve my serve from last year, and I think my forehand is improving.”
Ou, who won the Ches-Mont American Division singles title last spring, won his match by a count of 6-1, 6-0 Tuesday to improve his record for the young season to 5-0. His record includes a win against Downingtown East, who the Longhorns (4-1) lost to in their season opener.
“The biggest thing in these early-season matches is adjusting to playing outdoors – to the sun and the wind — after playing indoors all winter,” said Ou.
At third singles, Unionville senior Matt Farrell prevailed, 6-0, 6-0. Farrell, who is one of the Longhorns’ four senior captains – the other three are Jack Barrickman, Ryan Megill and Nate Butler – is a versatile performer who played first/second doubles for Unionville last year after playing singles as a sophomore.
“I’ve been working on my singles pace, transitioning and working on the mental game, trying to stay consistent,” said Farrell, a second-year captain.
At first doubles, Barrickman and Megill won 6-3, 6-0; and at second doubles, Butler and sophomore Andy Ye carved out a 6-0, 6-0 victory.
“Our singles players are always good, and we put a lot of pressure on our top two doubles teams, where we have three seniors helping to lead the way,” said O’Rourke. “I feel really good about our top two doubles teams – they’re almost interchangeable. We have two solid teams leading our doubles.”
At third doubles, sophomores Shivam Maheshwari and Manny Prem earned a 6-1, 6-0 win, and at fourth doubles, Carroll and Duran prevailed, 6-1, 6-2. It all added up to a convincing win for the Longhorns and O’Rourke, who was celebrating his 51st birthday Tuesday.
Next on the schedule for Unionville will be Harriton on March 31, then Great Valley April 10 and a tough Lower Merion squad April 13. The Aces defeated Harriton, 6-1, Tuesday.
For Henderson (0-5), this spring has been a rebuilding campaign. The Warriors, who lost nine starters to graduation last June, started their 2023 season with three strong opponents (Radnor, Downingtown West, Downingtown East), then dropped a tough 4-3 match to Avon Grove last week that included a three-set defeat at first doubles.
“This has been a rebuilding season for us,” said West Chester Henderson boys’ tennis head coach Peter Sok. “We’re doing a lot of teaching, and we’re hoping to improve throughout the season.”
Unionville 7, West Chester Henderson 0
Singles: Matthew Miller (UN) def. Patrick Sinnott (WCH), 6-3, 6-1; Andrew Ou (UN) def. Aansh Devpura (WCH), 6-1, 6-0; Matt Farrell (UN) def. James Moffett (WCH), 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles: Jack Barrickman/Ryan Megill (UN) def. John Mauro/Elan Shigeno (WCH), 6-3, 6-0; Nate Butler/Andy Ye (UN) def. Henry Person/Agastya Singh (WCH), 6-0, 6-0; Manny Prem/Shivam Maheshwari (UN) def. Abhi Kandalam/Dylan Fritsch (WCH), 6-1, 6-0; Jacob Duran/Tucker Carroll (UN) def. Max Cooper/Snehit Shadangi (WCH), 6-1, 6-2.
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