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Rochester Hills

August 19, 2014

Rochester Adams tennis hopes to remain one of Michigan’s top teams

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Rochester Adams senior Justin Hyman returns a shot during a practice drill on Aug. 15 at Adams.

ROCHESTER HILLS — Rochester Adams has been home to one of Michigan’s most consistent and best tennis programs in recent years.

Since 2007, Adams has placed in the top eight seven times out of eight MHSAA state tournaments.

With six players returning from last year’s fifth-place team, Adams hopes to stay in that elite class of tennis teams.

“We’re going to be good, but it’s a question of how good,” Adams coach Al Must said. “We lost a lot of players last year, and we’re trying to reload. This group will really have to improve a lot to be in the top 10.”

Helping those new players along are senior Justin Hyman at No. 1 singles and sophomore Oliver Li at No. 2 singles.

Hyman was a state semifinalist in the top flight last fall, while Li made it to the state finals in No. 2 singles. Must called Hyman one of the top tennis athletes that he’s ever coached.

“Justin’s (Hyman) our bread and butter this year. He’s a senior, and he’s probably in the top five tennis players I’ve ever coached, and I’ve been doing this for 30 years here. He’s a really talented kid.”

“He’s gone through as much emotional growth as much as he has physically grown,” Must added about Hyman. “He’s an all-court player now. He used to be more of a baseliner, and his understanding of the game and an understanding of himself on how to play points and have better emotional control has helped a lot.”

With Li, Must said that he improved dramatically in his first year of high school tennis.

“Coming in as a freshman, he (Li) had no clue what it’s about,” Must said. “He improved a lot last year. I didn’t think he would get to the point that he got where he was second at No. 2 singles, but I think he really enjoyed it. He brought his game up more and more as the season went on.”

Twin seniors Matt and Scott Lillie return as Adams’ top doubles team. Senior Silvester Jang will be back at No. 2 doubles after making a run to a state quarterfinal match last year, and senior David Wang will return at No. 4 doubles.

“I’m expecting a lot from the doubles players. I’m expecting that the ones who are experienced to help carry the load. We’re definitely going to bring the newbies along,” Must said.

Adams will open its season against Novi on Friday, Aug. 22. Novi placed second at states last fall.

The Highlanders will again be playing in the OAA Red Division, and they will attempt to defend their regional title at Clarkston during the second week of October.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Thomas Franz at tfranz@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040.