Freshmen Ramblers lead comeback attempt

Fraser ties Utica but misses out on division title

By: Thomas Franz | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published October 2, 2013

 Fraser’s No.1 singles player, Ryan Papiernik, returns a shot during his match against Utica on Sept. 25.

Fraser’s No.1 singles player, Ryan Papiernik, returns a shot during his match against Utica on Sept. 25.

Photo by Deb Jacques

FRASER — With six freshmen playing critical roles on the varsity tennis team this year, most would have expected Fraser to struggle this season with the hopes that gaining experience will pay off in the future.

When the Ramblers came into their final dual of the season unbeaten, with one tie on their record, and a shot at undefeated Utica for the MAC Blue crown, it was clear these freshmen were ready to win now.

And the doubles teams did just that.

The doubles teams — featuring four freshmen — turned the tide of the dual after falling behind 3-0 quickly.

Freshman Adam Culver teamed up with senior Derek Loewen at No. 1 doubles to win 6-0, 6-3. Ninth-grader Marco Del teamed up with sophomore Eric Clark at No. 4 doubles to win 6-4, 6-2.

Shortly afterward at No. 3 doubles, freshmen Jordan Bell and Alex Radwick took down a pair of juniors from Utica 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 to tie the dual at three. Upperclassmen Mike Rogers and Sam Goethals finished the sweep for Fraser at doubles by coming back to win 1-6, 7-5, 7-6(8-6).

“Our freshmen are great. They just came in and, with very little experience to do what they’re doing every day, you see them get better. They try something new and try to make it work and add it in, and one thing they all do is dig deep. They play together and love each other,” Fraser coach Greg Dalida said.

The end result of this dramatic showdown was a 4-4 tie, which gave the league crown to Utica High. The Chieftains were unbeaten heading into the match, while Fraser had a tie on its record.

Dalida said he was very impressed by his team’s resilience.

“We fought for it, that’s for sure. We left it out on the court. It was a tie, and we just didn’t have it on a different day to get that other tie, so we get to play a tournament to see who’s better there,” Dalida said. “We struggled a lot. Maybe we were a little too amped up, but once we found our groove, we started playing again, and our doubles gave us a ton of energy today. We have nothing to be upset about at all.”

Ultimately, Utica succeeded in doing what it had to do to claim the MAC Blue title, and Dalida credited them with an equally great effort.

“Utica came ready to play today, and they showed it. They wanted it as bad as we did, and with a tie 4-4, all the merit to them for working as hard as they did, especially at singles. Their doubles teams worked their tails off to try to get themselves a win and clean it up, so really good job to them, as well,” Dalida said.