For the Leaside Lancers, the biggest opponent turned out to be themselves.
The Lancers lost three of four doubles matches [8-4, 5-8, 4-8 and 2-8] to Lawrence Park Collegiate in the season opener of South Region Tier One tennis at Moorevale Park on Friday afternoon.
As a team, Leaside committed numerous unforced errors and had simple on-court communication problems, due to lack of practice time.
Preparation makes perfect
“They [the kids] aren’t playing enough,” head coach Dudley Lansdowne said. “If they just played a little more consistent, the other team [Lawrence Park] were more consistent and [we] just made some mistakes.”
Consistency, errors and communication can be corrected with repetition, but the bigger challenge is how to handle the difference between singles and doubles play.
The Leaside players tend to spend a lot of time playing singles, on their own, but with the high school games in a doubles format, well, that’s a different ball game altogether.
“They [the kids] don’t know how to play the net in doubles,” Lansdowne said.
Hristiyan Ivanov echoed those sentiments.
“For me, I think I need to improve my volleys at the net,” he said. “Half of the time it’s me at the net and I think I need to improve.”
Lansdowne encourages the guys to get out and practice playing with a partner.
“They [kids] aren’t playing doubles together, “ Lansdowne said. “Most of the kids play singles. “I said to them ‘get out on the weekends and play doubles’ so you get used to each other on the court, where you are and what you’re doing.”
The only pair to win
Andres Rojas and James Manley were the only Leaside pairing to win a game [8-4], taking down Conner Douglas and Jackson Strike.
“I think we played pretty well,” Rojas said. “We had some trouble moving our feet but we coped with it pretty well and then we started hitting out shots and playing our game.”
“I think my partner played better than I did,” Manley said. “The wind was really affecting our play today but, under the circumstances, we got the win and I’m happy.”
From there it came undone for the Lancers.
Ivanov and Thomas Lawlor lost [8-4] to Sam Warman and Cole Key-Mettzer.
Erik Sultmanis and Harris Shenstone were defeated [8-2] by Donovan Sved and Tom Hunter.
In the closest match of the day, Liam Lawlor and Evan Listro lost [8-5] to Justin Wood and Kosta Pavkov.
Leaside are in a division along with, Malvern, Northern, Lawrence Park and North Toronto.
Each team plays one time against their division foes, with the top four moving onto the quarterfinals in October.
All games are a race to eight, with the victor needing to win by a margin of two points.