Panther Press

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Haven Boys’ Tennis Has Special Season

Justin Snyder, '17, Staff Writer

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This year Haven tennis had a yearunlike any other: the season that almostwasn’t. There were high expectations for Panther’s tennis going into the season, after only graduating Jeffrey Himmelstein the year before and having made a run to the second round of districts. A good start to the season turned to chaos upon the injury to Panthers captain Xandy Hammitt, setting up losses to rivals Conestoga, Lower Merion, and Radnor. A team expected to finish near the top of the Central League was suddenly fighting for the final playoff spot with Garnet Valley and Harriton.
Earlier in the season it had beenrevealed that long time coach TJ Adams would be retiring after the season, and this definitely played a part in the Panthers late season resurgence. The team was motivat-ed to give Coach Adams a State’s berth as a parting gift, something that had eluded the program for 16 years. A thrilling 4-3 win over Harriton and a 6-1 thrashing of GarnetValley in the final week ensured a number9 seed in districts for the Panthers, where a clutch performance from first singles player Xandy Hammitt proved the differ-ence in a 3-2 win over Abington. A loss to reigning state champs Lower Merion forced the Panthers into a win or go home scenario, but the dynamic first doubles duo of Ben Troutman and George Steinke up-set a strong Council Rock North doubles team to lead the Panthers to another thrilling 3-2 victory. Facing Upper Dublin for a spot at States, Sophomore Finn L’Armaud performed with poise and passion, coming from behind to provide Haven with what had become a routine 3-2 victory. This run of success was in part due to excellent team chemistry and how close the group had become. Senior singles player and team captain Xandy Hammitt states, “I think the reason we had so much success is because we became a close group and put the team first; we really piped it up.” After the thrilling win the put the team on the road to states, Coach Perella could be seen nodding his head to the beat of Bad and Boujee, and the team picked up an enthusiastic bus driver turned tennis fan along the way.

The Panthers advanced to the state quarterfinals in Hershey before their season came to an end against a strong Unionville team, but a fun late night in Hershey allowed the team to reflect upon a great season and enjoy each other’s company one last time. Each team member contributed to a strong season, but none of this success could have come with- out the leadership of Coach Adams. His hard work and dedication to the program is truly remarkable, and the team will miss him in his well deserved retirement.

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Haven Boys’ Tennis Has Special Season