Andrews, Hansen hang tough with Mountie twin threats
The teams battled each other, as well as the heavy winds. "We've met before this season and came off with a win," said Head Coach Jacques Faulise, "but they were missing a few of their players due to suspensions."
The Skippers were also lacking in the match, however, with the loss of their number three sophomore and islander, Samuel Baines.
Baines had been away on a family vacation to France. "My family and I went for my grandparent's anniversary and we went to visit some of the WWII battle sites. He fought in the war. It was fun, but I really wish I was playing today," Baines said.
This was unfortunate for NK because as Coach Faulise explained, "Sam missed the Thursday match, which we won, but school policy dictates that if you miss the match for a vacation you have to miss the next match. It breaks up our really good number one doubles team," the coach explained.
There is a league rule that schools order their players one through ten. "The top four play singles, five and six play doubles, so if one of the top four go out then the five has to move up. You can't play a sub, I can't put somebody else in there and for us the five guy was one of our number 1 doubles, so, you see the problem," Faulise explained.
This situation didn't seem to affect the play of NK's number one and two singles spots of Scott Andrews and Jamestown native Dan Hansen, as they took on the lefty twins of Mount Saint Charles, Christopher and Anthony Aiudi.
Andrews, at number one, made short work of his Aiudi opponent, dominating for a 6-1 first set victory. "I had a plan to pick on his second serve, and I think I did that effectively," said Andrews. But Aiudi stepped it up in the second set pulling ahead to a 5-2 lead. "He was making some good shots. I was making a few errors but I played aggressively. When I got down I tried to exploit his backhand, which I did and that saved me in the second." Andrews added, "The weather was also a factor, I didn't trust my toss in the wind so I was going with more of my slice serve because with that I have more confidence in my toss with that serve; but we've been playing in wind all season, I think the whole team is used to it." Andrews' strategy seemed to be effective as he defeated Christopher Aiudi in two sets 6-1, 7-5.
Court two set the scene for Dan Hansen facing the other Aiudi brother, Anthony. The Mountie senior and Hansen both came out swinging, going game-for-game in their first set. "I played okay, but he's tough to play because he hits the ball deep with a lot of spin, so I'm hitting it above my shoulders" said Hansen. Two different racket changes due to broken strings didn't seem to affect Hansen's mental game, falling back into his rhythm with each racket change. "I was getting frustrated in my second set, not winning a game. I should have been covering the net better. He was doing a lot of passing shots when I was at the net." The pair battled for a third set tie-breaker, with Hansen victorious 7-6, "I'm really tired," he said after the match.
Unfortunately the team ran into trouble in doubles competition. The play was exciting going down to the last doubles set, which they lost 6-4 in the third set. "It was a close match all the way around," Faulise said. "It was a little bit disappointing. We wanted a chance to play South Kingstown, who's been State Champions nine years in a row. We weren't ready to pack it in today, but, it's our last match of the season, all the guys are proud of this year, placing fourth in the state, and there's a lot of gaps to fill for next year with nine seniors moving on," the coach added.