Lawrence Park smashes foes

[attach]6454[/attach]After a summer hiatus, Lawrence Park boys’ tennis picked up where they left off, handing a blowout loss to UTS Sept. 26.

The season opener at Wanless Park, featuring four doubles matches, produced an 8–0 win by the Panthers. Lawrence Park, the defending city team doubles champs, won 32 games to UTS’s 11.

On Court 1, the matchup between Lawrence Park’s best players, Austin Wood and Kosta Pavkov thrashed UTS’s Peter Hull and Evan Shang, eight games to one.

The Panthers, with a strong serve and forehand, were the first to break serve, and didn’t look back.

“I felt really comfortable,” said Wood, who has been playing with Povkov for three years. “We were going to try and experiment with different strategies, like the serve and volley, poaching, getting a feel for playing each [with] other once again, after a long summer break.”

The UTS pairing, who were new to each other, still trying to get a feel for their strategy, were alert at times and managed plenty of rallies and long points at the net.

“We knew this was going to be a tough match because they’re the defending champions,” said grade 9 student Hull, who was playing his first high school matchup. “We just tried to get some games off of them.”

[attach]6455[/attach]For Shang, a grade 11 student, practising and competing with his rookie teammate will be key to the partnership improving. But, he concedes Hull is much better than he is.

“He’s more consistent than I am, that’s for sure,” he said.

Modest in success, Wood and Pavkov were focused on restoring their rapport as a team, and they acknowledged UTS’s play.

“They’re a good team, they played hard, it was a good match,” Pavkov said.

The win by Wood and Pavkov earned three of the eight points on the line in the contest.

Coaching UTS tennis for nine years, Mary Hall has seen it all, and wants her players to have a single focus, even against tough opponents like Lawrence Park.

“Today, we were completely outmatched. We’re just like, ‘go out, have fun, do your best, [and] try at every point. That’s all you can really do at this point.’ ” UTS coach Mary Hall said, as her players joyfully reported the games they did win.

For Lawrence Park, this is the first step in a long journey, which Wood and Pavkov hope will end with them taking the OFSSAA title.

The partners, like many on the team, are in grade 12, and want to be ready. Coach Jilvan Irandoust thinks they will be.

“The boys are a good group, and they organize themselves really nicely,” Irandoust said. “I don’t know everything about tennis, I love to watch and play it, but they do all the work, and that’s great. They’re willing to put in that time to make sure everything is done correctly.”