Amalia Quesada Nylen
At almost mid-season, the boys tennis team is on its way to reclaiming last year’s Greater Boston League title with a current record of 3-3. Despite their loss of seniors, five of their seven members on the varsity team and the addition of a new coach, Jason Payeur, who replaced Berenice Diaz, their spirits remain high. This is due to the strong leadership by their two senior captains Matteo Pocobene and Christopher Li. These two have not only been winning their matches, but guiding the new varsity members and junior varsity squad as well.
Although this is his first time coaching tennis, Payeur has been doing relatively well, according to his players. Junior varsity player and freshman Eugine Szeto noted that Payeur has done a “really great job with managing, and dividing his time between the JV and varsity teams.” Considering most of the team is made up of underclassmen, this development strategy has worked well. “He has a lot of passion and is definitely a great leader,” Pocobene expressed.
Payeur has been committed to conditioning and getting the team in shape, fitness being a prime word in his vocabulary. An athlete himself, he attended Springfield College on a track scholarship and placed second at Regionals as a freshman. This past year, he found his first coaching job at the University of New England, and was a swim coach there for six months before taking the job as a gym teacher at MHS. “I just want to be the best that I can for them,” commented Payeur on his commitment to the team.
The boys now have a set roster for first, second, and third singles, as well as first doubles. Their second doubles team varies match to match. It is important for doubles teams to stay consistent because they need to develop chemistry. So far, the glue of the team has been the three singles, who are all seniors and have years of experience. With the exception of senior Daniel Rendón, three of the four seniors: Pocobene, Li, and Khoshafa have been on the team for four years and have experienced the leadership of three different coaches. With this always changing, they have learned to bond and coach themselves, becoming strong leaders in the process.
Girls tennis senior captain and frequent match-goer Wendy Tse believes the boys team has a chance at winning GBLs again, but thinks that “they should focus on development this year and gaining chemistry. But I would love to see them bring home another banner.”
Malden defeated Somerville, 4-1 on Apr. 25, 2012, and Revere on Apr. 27, 2012, 3-2 with wins by first singles Pocobene, third singles Rendón, and second doubles junior Evans Liang and sophomore Dennis Chin. The team has two league matches coming up this week: Tuesday May 1, 2012 they will play Everett at home, and play Cambridge away on Thursday May 3, 2012. Pocobene stated “we have three GBL matches and we need to win them all if we want to have a shot at the title.”
March 2013** Correction: Page 12 should say "Class of 2014 Presents..."**