Saugerties finished the regular season campaign with a winning record of 6-4 while developing some younger talent that is sure to blossom during the coming seasons.
Showing exceptional promise was first singles player Ray Wright. A tall, athletic righty, Wright, only a sophomore, manned the top spot. Playing against Roosevelt’s top player, pesky Jonah Berkowitz, in a match that was closer than the score indicated, Wright fell in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3.
Throughout the match the pair had long, tense baseline rallies. Berkowitz used an effective drop shot to win many key points, but Wright displayed impressive fluidity with his groundstrokes. With a more consistent, accurate serve, Wright might very well have given the visitor a run for his money.
Perhaps the biggest challenge in the development of Wright’s game is maintaining an even temperament on the court. According to Stevens, the sophomore has a tendency to become frustrated and lose focus.
“You have to keep your mind in it and not try to do too much. He thinks he ought to be able to overpower people, but it’s about consistency. When your young you sometimes think you can substitute power for consistency but you can’t,” said Stevens.
Wright has many assets to his game, including a strong, powerful forehand and excellent agility and court coverage. A varsity player in soccer and basketball as well as tennis, Wright is aware of what he needs to work on for next season.
“The key is serving and fitness,” he said.
The Sawyers are blessed with tremendous athletic ability throughout their roster. In addition to Wright, first doubles player Tim Poll is a quarterback for the football team and third singles player Alex Mendez is a letterman in soccer.
However, with 11 players the roster was smaller this season and Stevens thinks other sports are claiming athletes who would otherwise play tennis.
“I think lacrosse may be getting more popular,” he said. “There is more of a crossover with soccer and basketball. We don’t get much of a natural crossover anymore.”
Second singles player Dylan Rodgers was a model of perseverance this season after an extremely slow start. “He’s a good athlete who did well in practice and then had a big glitch to start the season. He’s managed to straighten that out and has been playing quite well since then,” said Stevens.
The first doubles team of Poll and Spencer Brandes has certainly pulled its weight. Brandes, a junior, has significantly improved his serve and court coverage and could contend for a singles spot next season.
“They work well together. The both have good servers and groundstrokes. Spenser is particularly good at net volleying. Tim is good overall athlete and he serves well,” said Stevens.
It was a case of mix and match at the second doubles spot for the Sawyers. John Leighton was a constant and Stevens alternated in Tom Delia and sophomore Justin Horvers.
Next up is the Mid-Hudson Athletic League Tournament. The end of the regular season marks the end of team play as well. Any player or doubles team that advances to the semifinals of the league tournament will qualify for sectional play.