Boys varsity tennis shows out in the Gross Pointe Invite


As the 2021 fall sports season is officially underway, the boys varsity tennis team has slowly established itself as one of FHC’s most dominant rosters. A third-place finish in the state tournament just a year ago marks not only significant promise for the upcoming season; it displays the upwards trend seen by the boys tennis program over the years. 

“During my freshman and sophomore year, I have seen some teammates come back into the season doing what they weren’t able to do the last season,” junior star Sammy Yin said when asked about the program’s development process. “I am excited to see how good our team and the members within it become throughout the season.”

Although the departure of four irreplaceable seniors in Chris Battiste, Ben Koning, Eli Romijn, and Jeremy James proves to be significant, the returning talent for the Rangers cannot be understated. Junior phenoms Sammy Yin and Chris Shang lead the pack at first and second singles respectively. Seniors Cully Herbert and Walker Sjolin construct FHC’s first doubles team, followed up by a duo consisting of senior Nick Yasenchak and junior Noah Kriekard.

Although Saturday’s match against Seaholm was postponed due to a heat advisory, it did not stop Sammy and Chris from dominating early on. The two allowed just three wins combined in four sets, showcasing the utter superiority of the Ranger singles players. Although the doubles teams were unable to finish before cancellation, the match is working to be rescheduled and completed.

Just before the Seaholm match and the heat ramped up, FHC took on Grosse Point in a matchup between two excellent squads. At second doubles, Nick Yasenchak and Noah Kriekard embarked on what would be an incredible final set. Tied at one set apiece, they battled back and forth with Grosse Pointe; it didn’t even stop when the score hit double digits. Unfortunately for FHC, the two came up just short in the showdown of the year with a score of 12-10. 

Rebounding back, the subsequent doubles teams finished the job. Senior Devin Holcomb and sophomore Philip Murdock teamed up to secure a win with a pair of 6-2 triumphs. Likewise, the underclassmen duo of sophomore Alex Chen and freshman Willem Knoester executed perfectly with a clean sweep of their counterparts. It is players like Willem and Alex that define this program’s developmental success. 

As if this wasn’t enough, the singles teams had a similar fortune. Chris and Sammy handled their respective opponents per usual, along with an underrated, below-the-radar win from sophomore Nico Notarnicola. At fourth singles, Nico dropped the first set. Regardless, he would battle back to take the following two sets in remarkable fashion. When examining the additional victories from senior Noah Moore and junior Max Cooper, it is clear that FHC possessed a higher-level squad than that of Grosse Point.

With all of the setbacks induced by COVID last season, head coach Dan Bolhouse is exceptionally eager to have his boys “back in the lab” in a somewhat normal manner. Heading into next Wednesday’s tri-meet with Lowell and Greenville at the Red Arrow tennis courts, he looks forward to moving along the same curve. 

“One thing I’ve noticed is a huge improvement with a lot of our guys. They are a year older, and most of them played a lot of tennis during the offseason,” coach Bolhouse said. “We have high goals set for the season.”