Siegel gets Kenmore West team ready for grueling season
BY: Dave Ricci, Sports Reporter | April 24, 2014
KENMORE - Kenmore West tennis coach Lisa Siegel is making sure her team is at the ready every day. With Mother Nature throwing a wrench into the world of WNY spring sports, Siegel is making sure her Blue Devils know that they have to be ready to go, mentally as well as physically, everyday-regardless if a match was scheduled.
Coming off of a 4-10 season that saw them lose more 3-2 matches than any team in the NFL, the Blue Devils are looking to make a statement in 2014.
“I know that they have always been better than what our record has been (recently),” Siegel said.
Siegel knows full well the competition in the Niagara Frontier League will be stiff and she isn’t proclaiming her squad will flip-flop its record and be 10-4 this year. But she is very secure that her team has the ability to succeed.
The Blue Devils return five starters from last season including its line up of singles players in junior Nick Atallah (first singles), senior Niko Mancuso (second) and senior Radomir Pupovac at third.
Those three give Siegel a cast of very skilled players who are looking to prove their worth at a higher level.
“Nick, he really takes pride in his game,” said Siegel. “He really has been working incredibly hard in the off season...You can see it in the little things. His ground stroke has just improved tremendously. It’s nice to watch him play now because he really has a good court sense. He knows what he’s going to do. He usually just reacts and does exactly what he planned on doing. He’s really hitting the ball (hard). He’s got some nice power behind the ball. So he’s hitting it really well.”
While Atallah (third year) will be key, Siegel said Mancuso (fourth) and Pupovac, who has been on varsity since seventh grade, will be looking to make strong statements in their final season with the team.
“I’ve had Niko since eighth grade. Radomir since seventh and they’re both seniors this year,” she said. “To watch both of them develop their game. It’s really nice to not only see they mature, but how they’ve grown and how they’ve progressed since day one of playing for Kenmore West.”
Colin Flynn and Evan Dowdall return and will see time at first doubles, but Siegel stressed that as a whole, at this point in time, the doubles teams are not set in stone. Which should breed even stronger competition within the ranks of the Blue Devils are players strive for a starting job.
While inclement weather will likely mean stretches of playing everyday, Siegel is ok with that as she believes it’s a test of fire that will make her players better.