Pair of unbeatens look for additional net gains
By MIKE CAMUNAS
Published March 13, 2007
There are two stories behind River Ridge's and Ridgewood's undefeated seasons.
The Rams (6-0) have a squad that has been together for a few years and has built itself into a experienced team that shouldn't be taken lightly.
The Royal Knights (8-0) are a new team with just one player returning from a 2006 squad that lost three seniors and a transfer student.
"I'm pleasantly surprised with the start," River Ridge coach Paul Scolaro said. "I wasn't expecting to do this well because there weren't many varsity players - that makes you think it's going to be a rebuilding year."
Added Ridgewood coach Mike Bua: "I'm a little surprised. I knew we'd better than last year, because we were 5-9, but also that we have the same group of guys for the past couple of years."
Bua said winning has become a different feeling than last year.
"After losing match after match after match, now we're winning all the time," Bua said. "It's pretty different, but you think their heads would get big. ... They aren't getting overconfident, so that's good."
As the teams meet today for the first time this season, Scolaro feels they will continue a usual rivalry.
"I think it is the two best teams," Scolaro said. "You can't count out Wesley Chapel, but I think Ridgewood and us are going to be very competitive."
The teams' No. 1 seeds, Ridgewood's Sean Little (5-1) and River Ridge's Lucas Loman (6-2), are good pals and have been waiting to face each other.
"He's been my one of my best buds for about four years now," Little said. "I think it'll be a pretty close match."
Added Loman: "I'm really looking forward to it and to see what will happen. I'm just going to have fun. ... It'll be bragging rights until we at least play again."
Scolaro said even if Loman loses the No. 1 singles match, he feels the team has a slight edge with its No. 3-5 seeds: Dylan Douglas, Justin Delgado and Jurgens Vinyl, respectively.
"I knew the people we had as replacements were good, but not this good until they stepped up this year," Scolaro said. "Our four and five (seeds) are better for us this year."
Bua, however, said the match will be close no matter what.
"This is going to be an exciting match," Bua said. "I expect it to be a 4-3 win for us or vice versa for them."
Little, who knows the rivals face each other once more for their last match of the season, doesn't want a blemish on Ridgewood's record.
"We don't want to get defeated (today)," Little said. "We want to keep our record clean no matter who's on the other side of the net."
Friends turned foes
Ridgewood's Sean Little and River Ridge's Lucas Loman have been friends for about four years. In fact, they have the same tennis pro train them during the offseason. The two No. 1 seeds for their respective teams claim to know every nook and cranny of each other's game and face off for the first time this season.
Sean Little Sr., Ridgewood
2007 record: 5-1; team 6-0
Preferred stoke: forehand
Strength: extends rallies, keeps ball deep in courts, experience (No. 1 for three seasons).
Height/weight: 5-foot-10, 140 pounds
On Loman: "We know each other's game like the back of our hands. We're going to be reading each other a lot, so there's not going to be a lot he shows that I don't know."
Lucas Loman Jr., River Ridge
2007 record: 6-2; team 8-0
Preferred stoke: forehand
Strength: shot-making ability, good at putting top spin on the ball and controlling where and how his shot is made.
Height/weight: 5-10, 122
On Little: "We're real good about knowing each other's game. I pretty much know where ... the ball is going to go ...and he pretty much knows where my ball is going to go."