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Hopedale - Local Town Pages

Jack Phillips, looking to break the losing streak

Aug 02, 2021 09:41AM ● By Chuck Tashjian
BY Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer
Over four seasons, the Hopedale boys’ tennis team has compiled a 46-10 regular season record, while recording 10 wins in the District 3 Central Tournament and added another four wins in the State Tournament.  
While the Blue Raiders have been rather successful over that time span the squad has also lost 4 straight Division 3 Championships to Weston. 
Sophomore Jack Phillips has been a part of two of those downfalls and is fed up with the losses. He is hoping now that Hopedale is back to playing tennis after a year off due to Covid, that he and his teammates can change their luck come next spring.
Not only was it a tough pill to swallow, Phillips and his doubles partner and friend Hudson Terando, never lost a match all season — that was until the State Championship against Weston. 
“It was definitely tough to take after the productive season that we had, but I really can’t complain as Weston is a powerhouse tennis team,” Phillips said. “I hope that I am part of the team that finally defeats Weston; it would be super awesome to beat them.”
With the 2021 school season over, Phillips is now technically a junior and is already gearing up for the 2022 season, one in which he hopes is a historic one for the Blue Raiders tennis team.  
Having began playing tennis through the Hopedale parks program as a youngster and by 8th grade he decided to go out for the high school tennis team. 
“I had previously played baseball in the spring, but I was really horrible, so I filled the void with tennis,” he said. “Coming into the season, one in which I hadn’t picked up a tennis racquet in about 2 years, I felt that I was going to be able to help the team, especially after losing so many seniors from the 2019 season.”
Being a devoted soccer player and not playing tennis for that extended period of time, Phillips sought out the help of assistant coach Matt Costanza, who not only supported the sophomore throughout the season, but helped him improve his game on the court as well.
“Not having a season last year, I can only remember Jack from the year prior, when he was an eighth-grader,” Hopedale Coach Alex Laumeister said. “He was very small, but this season he completely transformed. He grew about a foot and developed how to hit a tennis ball properly while bringing his game to the next level. This year he was a tennis player not just an athlete.”
Phillips is a big proponent of playing doubles, where he was situated once again with his friend Terando. Although he’d prefer to play doubles, he may be moved up into one of the three singles position next spring. 
“Although I am not one that plays tennis year-round, I was very happy with my season this year,” he said. “The fall soccer season was very rough with all the rules changes and having no tournament, so I was much more relaxed with a normal tennis season. While I would prefer to play doubles if I happen to move to singles, I will just take my ‘win, don’t lose attitude’ into matches.”
The sophomore also added that if he does move up in the ranks for Hopedale that he’ll have to be in much better shape as he will have to cover much more of the court as a singles player. 
“Jack will definitely be a main piece to our team next year and should be the driving force behind our doubles teams. He’s best friends with Hudson and they have a great chemistry on the court with one another,” the Blue Raiders Coach said. “He could possibly hop into singles next year, but we do have all of our singles players returning, so it is a possibility that he may see time at both.” 
With two years remaining in which to break the Weston curse, Phillips said he will be spending more time getting ready for tennis than in the past. And although college is still two years away, he feels tennis may be in the cards.
“I am not fully sure at this point what is going to happen in college,” he said. “I love soccer, but I have come to realize that I might have more talent on the tennis courts instead of the soccer field. In the meantime, I’ll continue to play tennis this summer with my buddy Luke Tahmoush (Hopedale’s number two singles player) to improve my game.”
Coach Laumeister knows that Phillips is a soccer player first, but if he puts the time int improving his tennis game he could possibly play on the collegiate level.
While that is something that the now-junior won’t have to face for a couple of years, he does have unfinished business at Hopedale – knocking off the Wildcats for the State Championship.

Photo credit: Steve Bassignani