The Barrington High School boys’ tennis team reached the .500 mark for the first time this season when it defeated Lincoln 6-1 Thursday in Barrington.
The Eagles won three of four singles matches and swept the doubles to move to 3-3 in Division One Met-B. Barrington’s three losses in its first four matches came to LaSalle, South Kingstown and Smithfield, teams with a combined 17-2 record. The day prior to taking down Lincoln, the Eagles edged North Kingstown 4-3.
“Early in the year we only had two or three boys with any varsity match experience,” said Barrington coach Dick Ernst. “Against LaSalle we lost a heartbreaker (4-3). Smithfield was just too good on that day but it was a lot closer than 5-2. Our kids have improved a lot since then. I’m not discouraged at all.”
Maybe as the weather heats up so too will Barrington. The Eagles certainly seemed to enjoy the near-70 degree temperature against Lincoln.
Barrington freshman and No. 2 singles player Jason Scanlon, No. 4 singles player Will Hemingway and the No. 3 doubles team of Art Stanley and Drew Patton each swept to 6-0, 6-0 decisions. Tyler Cerelli and Paul Shannon won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles and the Aiden Egglin-Christian Egglin senior combo at No. 1 doubles scored a 6-2, 6-2 win.
Barrington two-time, All-Stater Cameron Voight battled hard to win his No. 1 singles match 6-4, 6-4 over a game Corey DiPaola. The Eagles lone setback came at No. 3 singles where Lincoln’s Kaelyn Zak outlasted Malcolm Kraus 7-6, 4-6, 6-2. Seniors Voight and Kraus are the team captains.
“They have done a tremendous job with leadership and creating a spirit,” Ernst said. “So we’ve just got great leadership. And the kids work as hard in practice as any team I’ve coached.
“A lot of my kids are putting extra work in too, not just showing up to practice. They’re working on weekends and nights. They’re putting the time in and that’s going to pay off. I really don’t have a heck of a lot to complain about.”
Scanlon continues to open eyes, and ears with his grunting when he hits the ball, with his play. He had no let up in his game against Carmine Carcieri and earned the team point in about 45 minutes. It’s something his coach is getting used to seeing.
“He rarely loses a game,” Ernst said. “He’s definitely the real deal. I’d rate him among the top four or five in the state. After all, he beat the South Kingstown No. 1 man love and love and that kid is one of the best players.
“His game is just tenaciousness and steadiness. He’s smart. He has tremendous defensive retrieving ability. He can pass. He’s cool under pressure. He knows the game and he works as hard as anybody. He’s going to be a great one.”
Unless another phenom comes along it’s likely Scanlon will move into the team’s top spot next season. But as long as Voight is around, Scanlon will have to bide his time in the No. 2 position. Voight already has the reputation as being one of the best in the state, especially after he showed he didn’t look out of place battling state champ Matt Kuhar in the singles tournament.
“He’s got a really good game and that’s why over the last two years he’s given the champ the best matches. He stays with him,” said Ernst. “What makes him good is he’s a lefty with a tremendous serve that he can kick out to the backhand. He has great ground strokes.
“But more than anything, on the short ball he’s got a great slice approach or a put-away. That’s like in hockey you send a kid in and you can’t let him get in close or he’ll score. He can score and that’s a big advantage. And if he doesn’t score his approach shots are tremendous and he has the net game.”
Barrington’s win over Lincoln elevated the Eagles to sole possession of second place in the division. Smithfield has a four-game lead on Barrington and Barrington is one game better than Cumberland and North Kingstown. Since the top three teams from Met A and Met B earn playoff berths, Barrington appears to be sitting pretty at the midway point of the season.
“It looks for sure that we’re going to make the playoffs,” Ernst said. “The real thing is to keep working and develop the doubles. The combinations are good and the kids get along. This isn’t one of those deals where you wonder if you’ve got the right combinations. I’ve got what I want.”