Team Bond Builds as Tennis Rocks Take on the Best

Leo McAllister, Staff Reporter

Nothing gets a team fired up more than thoughts of taking on their rivals. So it is with the tennis Rocks.

The Trinity tennis team began their season with a scrimmage on Mar. 5 and three weeks into the season have notched several wins.

As the 18-player team continues practicing, they look forward to a late-season showdown with St. Xavier in May, just before regional play begins.

“There’s a couple of kids on St. X that I want to play,” said Andrew Lajoie, a sophomore member of the varsity.

Lajoie described matches against St. Xavier as an exciting prospect for the team: “I’m excited to play St. X, try to beat them, and hopefully make it to state.”

Lajoie said he has faced the Tigers in the past, “with my doubles partner last year, we beat them in one match.”

Last year, two singles players, Ben Rueff and Griffin Grant, made it to region quarterfinals while two doubles teams (Dustin Garrison/Niko Jones; Dane Boggess/Matthew Chou) made it to the region semifinals. 

No matter what scenario you’re in on the court, you just have to keep going.

— Trinity senior Dane Boggess

Rueff, Boggess, Chou and Jones return this season.

Boggess, a senior, described the team spirit the Rocks work to build: “Once you get to the team, it’s not about you winning anymore. It’s about the team. Your success reflects your hard work, but it also reflects on the team, and it leads an example for everybody to not stop trying in the middle of a match if you think you’re going to lose. No matter what scenario you’re in on the court, you just have to keep going.”

For Boggess, it’s important that he and his teammates support each other.

He said, “(Last year) made me really enjoy my experiences with my teammates, winning or losing. It was just nice to see how it all brought us together. If it was at Lexington or at CAL, it really meant a lot to see how we would mentally support that guy and get ready for the next match.”

Boggess remembers three years ago when the Rocks won the state title, and Rueff and junior Justin Lee won doubles.

He said, “When Ben Rueff and Justin Lee played a team that they had lost to like four times previously in the season — hadn’t beaten them once; I think they were undefeated — (Rueff and Lee) beat them in the finals in state. We already knew (our team) won state, but when they won, it was kind of like the cherry on top for us. I just remember how excited everyone was.”

Chou pointed to the friendships created throughout the season.  Of out-of-state tennis tournaments, Chou said, “You get to stay overnight with the team for a few days, just kind of hang out with them, and you compete with them during the day.”

For Chou, a senior, tennis is a family sport. He started playing when he was 11. Chou’s cousins helped introduce him to the Rocks.

He said, “Brandon (Chou) was a senior when I was a freshman, and Michael (Chou) was a junior. I kind of just followed them. They were my ride and everything, too. I joined the tennis team just to play with them and keep up with my tennis career, and I still do it today.”

Senior Bennett Carothers has also seen the team bond grow. Carothers said, “Tennis has helped me get to know some of my classmates better. I have had classes with some of my teammates, so that helps, too.”

The St. X rivalry is important to Carothers. He said, “Last year we had a match against St. X, and I kind of had a rivalry with this player on the St. X team. It was a really long match, and the whole team was watching. I won on his senior night.”