Lamphere tennis looks to serve a MAC Gold title

By: Mark Vest | Madison - Park News | Published September 26, 2012

 The Rams are searching for their first league title since 2009. Pictured is Lamphere junior and No. 1 singles player Octaviah Gherasim.

The Rams are searching for their first league title since 2009. Pictured is Lamphere junior and No. 1 singles player Octaviah Gherasim.

Photo by Deb Jacques

When speaking of attempting to win the program’s first league title since 2009, Lamphere tennis coach Brian White said, “We’ll have a run for it.”

At press time, the Rams were attempting to do just that by getting off to a 4-2 start in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division (5-4 overall), which was good enough for third place in the league.

The biggest challenger standing in the way of Lamphere and its title ambitions is the same team that did so last year, albeit in a different division — Warren Woods Tower.

Last season, the Titans won the MAC Silver dual-meet championship, as well as the divisional tournament, which is a one-day competition between all the teams within the division.

One of the two MAC Gold losses Lamphere had suffered as of press time was at the hands of Tower, which currently sits in first place in the MAC Gold with a 4-0 record. Coach Brian White believes the Titans are once again the team the Rams will most likely have to topple in order to claim a dual-meet or divisional tournament title.

“In sports, anything can happen at the high school level,” he said. “We would have to have a lot of good efforts. This would require us having almost a perfect game. They’re pretty good.”

One plus the Rams have going for them is that they are taking to the court with some players they didn’t have last year.

After taking last season off due to other commitments, the No. 1 doubles team of seniors Vince Mandarino and Evan Reich are back in the mix. Their strong play, as well as that of such singles players as Octavian Gherasim, Claudiu Gherasim, William Aman and Abdulkader Al Obaidi, has helped Lamphere get off to its strong start.

After finishing second to Tower last year, Mandarino would like to reverse the order in the standings this time around.

“It would be nice to beat them just because they have a lot bigger team than we do,” he said. “I think they’re one of the better teams in the league this year. But I think we can develop throughout the years as a team because we got a lot of young talent that will be all right in two, three years.”

Reich echoes the sentiments of his teammate.

“It’s always a goal to take a championship of any sort,” he said. “But I think a big part of this year is to develop the team.”

Freshman Koede Bautista is one of the players improving with every match. White believes his future could be bright, and along with some of his fellow underclassmen, his play could go a long way toward helping the Rams be a MAC Gold contender for at least the next few years.

“This kid is a kid to watch,” White said. “His brother (Eddie) played a few years back, and his brother was good. He’s a smart player. He puts the ball where he wants to when he wants to, and that’s pretty impressive for a ninth-grader.”

Whatever the standings may say at the end of the season, White feels good about this group of players.

“They’re some of the nicest kids,” he said. “They’re some of the top scholars in school. I cannot say enough about their character and their ability. They go as far as they can with their ability.”