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October 2, 2013

East Detroit tennis team battling, despite inexperience

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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East Detroit tennis team battling, despite inexperience
The East Detroit boys tennis team next hits the court for a matchup against Warren Woods Tower, set for 4 p.m. Oct. 2 at Tower. Pictured is Shamrocks No. 2 singles player, senior Douglas Bell, during a Sept. 23 match against Marysville.

EASTPOINTE — The East Detroit High boys tennis team returned just three players from a squad that won the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division title in 2012.

That team finished with an 11-3 mark, which included a 7-0 record in MAC Blue play.

The 2013 group has struggled to this point, sitting at 0-5, 0-5 MAC Blue at press time.

Shamrocks coach Phil Morey said that record is not indicative of the effort the players give each time they step on the court.

“We’ve had some players who’ve come out and turned into really solid players,” Morey said. “Our No. 1 and 2 doubles teams have come a long way in five weeks. Put them up against another team that’s been playing five weeks, and we’ll get a win.

“Their heads are high and they’re competing.”

Morey has worked nine new players into his rotation — mostly on the doubles side — including some, Morey said, who came out after the season started. His No. 1 singles player, senior captain Joseph Capaldi, played No. 1 doubles last season. East Detroit’s No. 2 singles player, senior captain Douglas Bell, played at No. 4 singles in 2012.

Even with the turnover, the team still comprises mostly seniors, which will present another problem for Morey next season. He said he’ll likely be starting with a new group again in 2014.

Morey said he tried to recruit players, but the interest was low.

“It’s great that the players who came out did for one year, but unfortunately, it hasn’t been a rebuilding year, but a year where I’ll be losing most of the players again,” Morey said.

“But the players have really risen to the occasion and beaten some good players. Our doubles lineup is improving every day. Every day the players walk off the court, they did better than the day before, so they’re getting experience.”

Capaldi said he and Bell are doing all they can to help the less-experienced players get acclimated to the varsity game. He acknowledged that most of the inexperience is on the doubles side and that he and Bell have coached the players on hitting lob shots to keep rallies alive.

“We’ve had some tough matches,” Morey said. “The Blue is really competitive this year at the top.”

Outside of a down 2011, the East Detroit boys tennis program has a strong recent history. In addition to last year’s league title, the Shamrocks shared the MAC Blue crown with Utica Ford II in 2010 and won the MAC Gold in 2008 and 2009.

“We’re definitely headed in the right direction,” Morey said.

“I think getting game experience is the best thing for all the new guys,” Capaldi said. “That’s the best way to get better.”

East Detroit next hits the court for a matchup with MAC Gold foe Warren Woods Tower (1-3, 1-2 MAC Gold). Match time is slated for 4 p.m. Oct. 2 at Tower.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.