Hansen fills number 2 spot on tennis team
Hansen, a freshman, and Baines, a sophomore, are playing the two and three spots respectively on the varsity tennis team and looking to take the program back to the level it was when the team won the state championship two years ago.
"They didn't made it to the playoffs last year, but we're four and four now and looking to make it this year," said Hansen.
Hansen, a lefty, has maintained an individual winning record thus far in the season, which he attributes to his powerful forehand as well as his improving net play.
Head Coach Jacques Faulise said, "As a freshman he's doing fabulous. He's our most experienced player, plays year round in all the New England tournaments and throughout the winter. And I'm glad we've got him playing at number two, you don't want to put too much pressure on the kids."
This is the first year with Faulise at the helm for North Kingstown and he is very excited about the young potential on the team. "It's a great sport, great kids, great program. I'm really looking forward not only to this season but our future as well."
Faulise formerly coached tennis at Providence College for eight years, and gives individual lessons at the Tennis Hall of Fame, in Newport.
North Kingstown took to their home courts this past Thursday to play rival Bishop Hendricken, looking to redeem themselves after a prior 6-1 loss this season.
"They're a tough team," Baines said, "but I'm feeling pretty confi- dent about today." Baines played Hendricken junior Chris Toeggman in his singles match of the day. Baines fell behind early, trailing four games to one, but rallied, defeating Toeggman with a cross court back hand blast to win the set, 6-4.
Coach Faulise is equally proud of his number three sophomore. "If you watch him play you'll notice he has really nice strokes, and he's improving, hitting to where his opponent isn't, as well as his net play, a great kid to coach," he said.
"He had a huge win for us against Wheeler, he secured us the victory. He's got potential," the coach added.
Both Hansen and Baines spent their spring vacation in Bradenton, Fla. this year attending the Bollettieri Tennis Academy. Bollettieri Academy philosophy is to develop each and every student to their full potential, both on and off the court and has produced many of the world's top players such as Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, and Anna Kournikova.
"It was a good learning experience for me," Baines said, "because they taught us that staying mentally tough and never giving up are just as important as your physical game. Most people who are really serious train there."
Hansen was equally pleased with his experience at the camp. "They really helped me improve my strokes," he said, "It was a good week." And, it showed this past week in Hansen's match as he defeated Hendricken's number two, winning his match 6-2, 6-1.
This coming week Hansen will be compete in the State Singles Championship at the Prout School. The tournament consists of 32 players from Division I Rhode Island high schools, and Hansen is looking very impressive for a freshman, seeded number 8. "I'm just going to have fun," Hansen said.