Niagara Gazette


April 7, 2014

TENNIS PREVIEW: Vikings look to build off back-to-back 12-2 finishes

Niagara Gazette — It’s the becoming the same story for the Grand Island boys tennis team each year. The Vikings are regularly stocked with steady athletes from top to bottom.

This season appears to be no different. They won’t have any true standouts, yet don’t possess a glaring weakness, either. It’s become a hallmark of Grand Island, something that’s guided it to back-to-back 12-2 seasons in the Niagara Frontier League.

“That’s been our traditional model now,” GI’s 17th-year coach Don Pray said. “We’ve been trying to make sure we have the depth in order to find three points somewhere, and we’ve managed to field quality guys all the way down to second doubles.”

Senior Wyatt Mock and junior Eric Riederer are at the top of the depth chart, which is a term that carries additional meaning at Grand Island. Riederer was the chief second singles player last season while Mock got his work in third singles.

Pray said they may be interchangeable at first singles — “They are 1A and 1B right now” — because of their similar ability. The first singles slot is vacated with the graduation of Jake Sweeney.

There is also little disparity between the two competing for the third singles position, which will come down to either senior Tommy Corrao or junior Colin Osborn. The odd man out will be a part of the first doubles pairing, teaming with junior McLain Erhard.

Seniors Mike Paternostro and Justin McCarthy are the lead candidates for second doubles.

A stiff challenge awaits the Vikings in their first match. They welcome defending league champ North Tonawanda, which went 13-1 in 2013, to the Island on Tuesday.

John-Michael LeMar, who along with younger brother Andrew (now a senior) gave the Lumberjacks a dominant 1-2 punch at singles the last few years, has graduated. It makes the Lumberjacks a little vulnerability, but Pray knows the league still runs through NT.

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