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Prep tennis: Cents put in the work

Experienced Saugus gets boost from doubles teams to earn win

Posted: March 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Saugus’ doubles team of Josh Hill, left, and Kevin Okimoto celebrate after a point against Quartz Hill Monday at Saugus High.

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The Saugus boys tennis team struggled last season largely because of inexperience.

The Centurions have a lot of returners this season, but head coach Allan Hardbarger is quick to remind them that experience doesn’t automatically equal victories on the court.

Those come around with the kind of effort Saugus turned in on Monday.

Led by a dominant performance on the doubles side, the Centurions beat Quartz Hill 13-5 in a non-league match at Saugus High School.

“It definitely helps that we have some returning players,” Hardbarger said. “We need to prove it on the courts. They can’t assume that because they’re veterans, they can play at half speed.”

The doubles teams of Josh Hill and Kevin Okimoto and Chris Poursayadi and Grant Vaziri each swept their three sets on the day.

Hill and Okimoto fell behind 5-0 in their first set against Quartz Hill’s Richard Mang and Ryan Tran, but they rallied to win 7-6, with a score of 7-2 in the tiebreaker.

“I was appalled they were down 5-0,” said Saugus’ Sagie Mofsowitz. “But they showed their character.”

Hardbarger said the doubles teams as a whole took awhile to find their rhythm.

“We started slowly in doubles,” he said. “There were a few sets where we could have played better. We were able to buckle down and play better.”

Chris MacDonald and Nick Burgess won two sets 6-2, 6-2 for Saugus (2-2). That gave the Centurions eight of the nine available points in doubles, an advantage the Rebels (1-1) couldn’t overcome.

In the singles lineup, Tristin Thierry won two sets 6-0, 6-0 while playing in the No. 2 singles spot.

Spencer Parks, Saugus’ regular No. 1 singles player, only played one set while nursing an injured shoulder. He beat Quartz Hill’s Steven Hood 7-6 with a 7-2 tiebreaker.

Azeem Mohammed Farooq came up from the junior varsity squad to fill in for Parks, and he won one set 6-2 over Quartz Hill’s Nam Nguyen.

Mofsowitz also beat Nguyen 6-4 in the last match of the day, which lasted until well past 6 p.m. as both players refused to give in to the darkness or the cold, windy conditions.

Afterwards, Mofsowitz acknowledged what it meant to play so well against Quartz Hill.

“From the team standpoint, it’s really, really good,” he said. “Quartz Hill is a team we need to be on par with, and beating them is a good sign for this season.”

Next up for the Centurions is a trip to Agoura at 3 p.m. Friday.

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