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Norwood - Local Town Pages

Norwood Hoping To Break Into The Win Column

By Christopher Tremblay
The past few years have been relatively tough for the Norwood boys tennis team. The Mustang racketeers have not been able post a team win over the last two seasons, and neither doubles team has been successful over that time. This year, Coach John Churchill is looking for improvement that eventually earns the squad a win.
“We’re on the smaller size in terms of depth and experience,” the Mustang Coach said. “Without that depth and experience it is very tough to compete against the other teams and even harder to win, but I see a lot of progress being made this year and the team looks to be getting better.”
Through the early part of the season, the Norwood team has already earned that elusive win that has avoided them for the past two years. At the time of this writing, the Mustangs were currently 2-3.
Taking the reins at first singles for the third straight season is Partha Jammalamadaka. The junior has been able to use his power and strong serves on the courts this season to help his team win. According to his coach, he plays he best when he is able to open up the court on his opponent.
“Partha is going up against the top competitors at first singles,” Churchill said. “When those opponents are able to move the ball around, he has a tough time.”
As a freshman, Jammalamadaka was able to earn six wins, upping that total to nine last year, and Churchill is hoping that he can once again at least reach the nine wins.
Another three-year tennis player, Juneau Joe, will be anchored at second singles for the Mustangs. The junior has good quickness and is able to get the ball back in play. So far this season he is doing a much better job with his offensive opportunities. While Joe’s overall game is improving, Churchill noted that he is still looking for his game on the baseline. 
Rounding out the singles players is sophomore Joe DiPierro who is playing singles for the first time on the varsity level; last spring, he had some opportunities to play doubles for the Mustangs.
“He [DiPierro] has been working his way up the team,” Churchill said. He is driven to play singles and as a sophomore he is in a position to be there long term. He knows that singles is tough to get some wins, and when he eventually does that he’ll be able to go from there. At this point, he is working very hard and is motivated and seems to be getting better each match.”
Playing together for the first time as a doubles tandem are senior Aiden Ciavatonne and junior Jack Weafer and the duo looks to be driven to compete on a high level.
“I saw the possibility of putting these two guys together giving us the best chance to finally get a doubles win,” Churchill said. “Originally, it was an experiment but after they won their first match I might leave them there.”
The first time playing together as a tandem, the duo has shown improvement right from the start and has been able to secure quality points for the team. According to the coach, it is only a matter of them working together and eventually making the most out of their opportunities on the court.
The second doubles team is currently in a rotation phase where no one is locked into playing. Senior Mahin Hossain and sophomore Trevor Levell currently have the inside edge. The duo has been able to get the team their first second doubles win against Ashland.
“They have been improving their games, but still need to work on unforced errors,” Churchill said. “They are better at their serves and returns and have given us a better presence.”
Sophomore James Saulnier and junior Jason Bower are also looking to earn some playing time on the doubles team. Saulnier played some second doubles last year, while Bower is working hard to work his way into the starting lineup. 
Although Norwood was able to return most of its players from last spring, Churchill was unsuccessful connecting with the freshmen and hoping to get them to try out for the team. Norwood was able to secure an eighth grade waiver this season and has one player on the roster; despite being small in stature, he may eventually get to see some action during the season at some point.
When the season got under way a few weeks ago, the Norwood tennis players were more than ready to finally get some wins under their belt, and by doing so early into the season, they were able to shed that weight off their shoulders. It was a big step in the right direction and now they are hoping to continue to compete with each and every team.
“It was huge to get that first win,” Churchill said. “Not that we are a totally young team, but we do have a good amount of youth, which leaves us in a good position for the future.”
Now that they have that first win or two, it makes it that much easier for the players to step onto the courts with the outmost confidence that they can secure another one.