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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 16, 2009

Dutchmen tennis searching for a sectional title

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– Playing in the sectional finals for five years in a row can leave a team feeling hungry.

The Dutchmen tennis team won a Class AA title in 2005 and has been in the sectional final ever since. The team lost to Niskayuna, 5-4, in last year’s championship.

“Tennis was really good here in the late ’80s and then there was a dry spell,” said Head Coach Curtis Snyder. “I came here and turned the program around. It’s nice to get to the finals every year, but winning a title would be nice. I think we’ve earned the right.”

Guilderland has most of its roster back after losing only three players. “We did lose Joey Milstein, our number-one seed,” Snyder said. “But, in a program like this, you always have someone there to fill a spot.”

Snyder told The Enterprise that 35 boys tried out for the team this year and he had to cut it down to 20. “Tennis is no joke; a significant amount of people would like to be on this team,” he said. “Cutting that many people was hard,” he said, adding that he teaches at Guilderland and is very transparent about “what’s going on.”

The Dutch are off to an impressive 2-0 start with 9-to-0 victories over Averill Park and Columbia. “There were snow flurries in our match against Averill Park,” said Snyder. “We’ve never played in snow before, so that was interesting.”

Number-one seed Dylan Scott didn’t surrender a point in a straight set victory over Columbia’s I. Castle on Thursday. “Scott gets really into tennis and he’s played down in Florida,” Snyder said. “He has amazing ground strokes.”

Sam Dordick, Guilderland’s second seed, also won in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. “Dordick has intelligence and great touch. He can change his game to fit his opponent,” said Snyder.

The Dutchmen didn’t drop a single set to Columbia. Joel Malerba beat J. Benjamin, 6-2, 6-2; Austin Malerba defeated N. Finlanson-Gesten, 6-4, 6-0; Chris Levy beat D. Walton, 6-0, 6-0; and Brendon Philips defeated S. Roy, 6-0, 6-3.

“These guys play a lot of tennis all year round and have a ton of fun,” Snyder said. “There is a solid amount of bonding on the team and I think that really helps keep the players in good spirits.”

Evan Farina, Guilderland’s third seed, was unavailable for the match against Columbia. He won his match against Averill Park. “Farina really grinds it out on the court,” said Snyder. “He wears you down and makes you make a mistake because he won’t.”

Snyder said that winning doubles matches will be important because “it takes pressure off the singles players.” He goes on, “I feel that our depth will carry us this year.”

“This team understands what it takes to win a match, but sometimes we let other teams dictate the game for us,” Snyder said. “I always tell them to set the pace first –– but sometimes it’s hard to do because tennis is such a mental game.”

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