2008-04-04 / Sports

High School Update: Beach Channel Boys Tennis Hangs On

By Elio Velez

Last spring, Michael Hinds and Carl Johnson were happy to be part of a boys' tennis team that clinched an undefeated regular season and win the PSAL Queens B1 Division Title.

But as the two seniors take the court this year, they're wondering where the rest of the team are. Since the team was top heavy with seniors in 2007, Beach Channel would have to rebuild the roster.

But with only six players currently on the roster, the Dolphins have the bare minimum to play with.

That's a danger considering they enough players to fill out the singles spots but sometimes not enough to put on the court the two doubles team needed to play.

"We recruited like madmen. In January we had three different meetings and we had no one showing up," Hinds said.

Beach Channel is 1-3 this year and Hinds, who plays first singles, said if one player misses a game due to sickness or other matters, they might have to forfeit a game

Johnson, a second singles player, said some of his friends came this year to join the team but they still need to recruit everyday even as the season goes on.

"Just last year we were an undefeated team and we get to the tournament playoffs and this year, we can't get anybody," Johnson said. "It's like who doesn't want to come to an undefeated team? We were doing good."

Boys tennis coach John Sullivan encountered this problem during his time leading the swimming team. He says it can be a struggle at times to put a team on the court.

But he'll persevere while trying to build camaraderie with basically a new team.

"We're dealing with people who are brand new and I'm just holding a team together by my fingernails," Sullivan said. "We're trying to keep it together. We got a team and we're going to keep playing.

Cohen Keeps Building

Claire Cohen, the girls' tennis coach at Beach Channel, remembers in the spring of 2006 that her 12-0 team came from the fruits of building a veteran squad who had learned how to win.

In 2007, the Lady Dolphins took a step back by going 3-9 in the Queens B1 Division. But they were without key seniors who had graduated from their 2006 undefeated team.

This spring, Cohen is still looking to build a team who will win in the future.

After losses to Campus Magnet and Martin van Buren, Beach Channel won their first game of the year on Wednesday with a 4-1 road victory over Springfield Gardens.

And with an influx of new players coming in, Cohen believes her squad, many who have arrived Channel View Academy, will continue to show progress.

"It's another rebuilding year but I noted tremendous improvement with the girls who came back," Cohen said.

"They just love tennis. They're coming here to play and they just like to play and it's so much better," Cohen said. "I'll take that as a motivating factor any day."

Seahorses Win Road Game

William Neylon was surprised when the Far Rockaway girls' soccer coach initiated spring girls' soccer practice in early March.

Neylon got a larger turnout than he had expected. Usually he's hard a hard time filling up a roster with players graduating in early January or due to other reasons the last few years before the spring season begins.

With 19 girls on the roster, and many of those arriving from Frederick Douglas Academy VI, located inside of the building, Neylon is happy that he has more than enough to fill the play on the field.

"It's surprising to me. I have no idea. It's a mystery to me," Neylon said.

Though Neylon says his team is still learning the ropes, the Lady Seahorses did get their first win on Tuesday afternoon. Senior Elian Flores scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory against host Campus Magnet.

Far Rockaway improved to 1-1 after losing to Springfield Gardens 4-0 on March 27.

They'll have tough games this week against Queens BVI Division rival John Adams at home on Tuesday and visiting Beach Channel on Thursday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.

The upperclassmen like Flores, Angela Hutchinson and Mary Turner should help guide the newcomers on the field according to Neylon.

"I have a nice of mix of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. I'm guardedly optimistic."

Dolphins Tie With Spartans

Dominick Stanco has gotten accustomed by now to watching his Beach Channel soccer teams fight through a tough battle against John Adams.

But the head coach is isn't happy to a similar fate that has gotten annoying after a while. Stanco, the boys and now girls' soccer coach, watched his Lady Dolphins end up in another 1-1 tie at John Adams High School on Tuesday afternoon.

In the fall, Stanco coached the boys program and in all three games in the regular season, Beach Channel and John Adams battled to a draw.

On Tuesday, it was a similar result against the Lady Spartans. Sarah Restrepo gave the Lady Dolphins a first half 1-0 lead with a goal in the 20th minute.

But in the misty and steady rain, the wet turf became an advantage for John Adams. The home team evened the game in the 15th minute of the second half.

"How frustrating is it to keep tying that school? It seems like we keep doing that every game," Stanco exclaimed.

Stanco though was pleased with his team's effort in the first half, which he noted his team's dominance with possession of the ball.

With his team's record undefeated at 2-0-1 to start the season, the progress the Lady Dolphins have made so far makes Stanco believe they can challenge the two-time division Queens B VI champions.

"That team {John Adams} knew it was a statement game. We know we can play with that team," Stanco said.

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