By Andrew Rudansky
At the beginning of the 2011 school year Pierson High School is still without either a JV or Varsity tennis program. This is something that Alvin Hollander has been looking to change since he got the job as the school’s tennis coach in the fall of last year.
“It always seemed like a deficit that the school couldn’t get a team together,” said Hollander.
Since starting at the coaching position, Hollander has found it difficult t drum up excitement for the program among the high school students.
Determined to get the high school teams off the ground, Hollander, along with his assistant coach Wendy Scheerer, have started at a younger level, seventh and eighth grade. He said that by instilling the love of tennis into the students while they are in middle school, he can get more interest when those same students enter into the high school.
The seventh and eighth grade Pierson/Bridgehampton team has already seen results, going 6-3 in league play in their first year. Hollander hopes that the talent he has seen at this level, along with the community support from both schools, will translate to the formation of the high school teams in years to come.
“The girls had an amazing first year,” said Hollander. “Given the size of the school, the inexperience of the team, and the newness of the program it is amazing that they won any games at all.”
Now in their second year, Hollander said that increased membership of the team, twice the size of last year, will make the team even more successful. Hollander said that the success of the team might not be reflected in the team’s record due to their strength of schedule this year, but instead in the personal growth of the team.
Their first match this season is a home game at Mashashimuet Park against Westhampton, a tough, established team, on Tuesday, September 27.
Playing in the team’s first match will be a roster of ten players, four singles players, and three sets of doubles partners. Hollander said that he hasn’t chosen which of the 25 team members will make the first match roster.
Hollander said that the main factor in choosing the roster will be individual commitment, and it is subject to change from match to match.
In preparation for Westhampton, Hollander is trying to teach the team the finer points of tennis strategy.
“On how to play towards your strengths, and your opponents weaknesses,” he said.
Beyond just winning, Hollander said that creating a positive developmental experience for the student athletes comes first. He emphasized that above all the purpose of the program is to “help in the building of bodies, minds and spirits.”