WAKEFIELD – Another match, another victory for the Prout boys tennis team as it continued to roll through its 2013 season Tuesday afternoon.
The unlucky victim this time around was winless Scituate, who was shut out 7-0 as the Crusaders bettered their record to a perfect 8-0.
Despite their opponent’s meager record, Prout coach Mary Lou Morissette was not about to let her team’s recent success take her players out of the game.
“I don’t care what’s on the other side, it’s the ball you’re playing against and I don’t want to hear anything other than you play hard,” Morissette told her players in her pregame speech. “And if you have a problem with that, I’ll take you off the court.”
Given Prout’s struggles in their singles matches this season – with a combined record that is barely over .500 – Morissette’s concerns of having a team that is overconfident are justified. The Crusaders seemed to get the message on Tuesday as they took it to the Spartans right out of the gate.
Captain Brandon Hazelton made quick work of things in the No. 1 singles spot, soundly beating Scituate’s Adam Annaldo 6-0, 6-1 in the quickest match of the day.
Both Matt Peacock and Chris Condon improved their personal records to 4-3 on the season with wins in the No. 2 and 3 singles matches, respectively.
Senior Adam Kaley – playing his first season with Prout tennis – has anchored the singles lineup and has been the only singles player to have any sort of consistency winning this season.
The rookie improved to 5-1 with his 6-1, 6-2 victory over John DiLuglio at No. 4 singles.
“[Kaley] can hit a hard ball,” Morissette said, “but he’s also learned how he has to handle [the softer hitters]. We’ve talked about it and he’d say ‘I get frustrated’, and I say, ‘you can do that, but you’re going to have to work around that.’ And he’s been able to do it.”
The doubles teams were once again brilliant for Prout on Tuesday.
Led by the top pairing of Jackson Welsh and Brian Lamendola, the Crusaders’ doubles teams have combined for a record of 23-1 this season, their only loss coming at No. 3 doubles to second place Chariho.
As has been the norm this season, Prout doubles swept all three matches on Tuesday and lost just five games in the process.
“They enjoy the doubles,” Morissette said. “Welsh and Lamendola get out there and they play so unorthodox that it’s a laugh when the kids go out there and try and beat them. ...Inadvertently they learned how to play some pretty decent doubles.
“The singles is where everyone loves to play and we have some very decent singles players, but we get right down to the nitty-gritty. We get one from the singles and we tell the doubles ‘this is yours’ and they’ve followed through.”
The doubles may have been perfect thus far but the work is far from over for the Crusaders.
As the team moves closer and closer to the state tournament their coach knows that part of the reason for her team’s success this season was the realignment that took place prior to this spring, which saw perennial favorites like East Greenwich, Cranston West and Smithfield move up to Division I.
“The real toughies went,” Morisette said. “That’s the reason we’re where we are. They got rid of our nemeses.”
Prout was back in action Thursday for a match with Tolman (results unavailable at press time) and will have its next match Tuesday at 4 p.m. at home against Portsmouth.