Bangor High boys sporting new look in tennis this spring

Posted May 06, 2010, at 10:23 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — With five players graduated from a year ago, the Bangor boys tennis team sports a new look this spring.

But the Rams hope to remain a contender for a top seed in Eastern Maine Class A, and their 3-0 start suggests they’re well on their way.

“For being a younger team, the guys are doing fantastic,” said Bangor coach Cindi Howard, whose team was rained out of a scheduled match against Brewer on Thursday. “They’re stepping up to the plate, and doing what I expect from them.”

Leading the new-look Rams this spring are singles players Patrick Stewart, Noah Frost and John Szewczyk.

Stewart, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, has moved up from first doubles a year ago to give the Rams a strong presence at first singles.

“Patrick has really come along quickly,” said Howard. “He’s just one of those natural athletes, and we take advantage of his height. His serves are just dynamite. When they go in they’re hard to return.”

Frost, the lone senior among the singles contingent, has moved up from second doubles and provides steady baseline play.

Szewczyk, a sophomore, was the Rams’ top alternate last spring and has settled in comfortably at third singles.

“Noah has been on the team for four years and is a good, steady player, and John, as a second-year player, is another of those natural athletes and plays the game of what third singles is all about and is able to roll with the punches.”

Seniors Kevin Wellington and Lance Lajoie have taken over at first doubles, while senior Scott Dennis and sophomore Kris Bears are teaming up at second doubles.

“They’re learning their game and they’re becoming more comfortable with each other as partners,” said Howard. “Sometimes they’re a little slow to get started, but once they get started they do really well.”

Junior Jason Linnell and sophomore Robby Brookings are the top alternates for the Rams.

Bangor’s season ended on a disappointing note last year, when the second-seeded Rams finished the regular season 12-0 before being ousted in the regional quarterfinals by No. 7 Gardiner.

This year’s team is hopeful that a similarly strong regular season will lead to more postseason success — though the road to the Eastern A title typically goes through Lewiston, the seven-time defending state champion.

“It’s going to be tough against Lewiston, they’re always our nemesis,” said Howard, whose team returns to action Saturday at Brunswick.

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