Python Tennis off to a Surprising Start

 Staff Photo by Marc Ayotte

Pelham’s Brooke Coupal (returning shot) combined with doubles partner Rebekah Day to defeat their Inter-Lakes opponents 8-1
by Marc Ayotte

Both the Pelham High boys’ and girls’ tennis teams have started the season in optimistic fashion and after the first three weeks of the schedule, are turning some heads in their new home of D-3 tennis.  Through their first 8 matches, the girls stand at an even 4-4, compliments of rattling-off three consecutive wins after starting 1-4.  The boys for their part won their first two matches of the season and currently stand at 4-3 for the year.

Under first year Pelham Coach Di Thomas, the Lady Pythons have turned around a dismal first week and a half of the season.  Included in the three match win streak was a most recent and impressive 7-2 decision over Wilton-Lyndeborough on April 22.  Pelham was paced by singles wins from number 2 seed Lisa Yeaton (8-2), number 3 Valerie Tocco (8-6), number 4 Brooke Coupal (8-3), number 5 Allyson Masson (8-2) and Mary Hammar (8-1) in the sixth seed matchup.  Already earning the team win by taking five singles matches, the Pythons padded the score with a pair of doubles match victories from Yeaton/Tocco (9-8 in a tie-breaker) and Masson/Hammar (8-1).

Thomas, who coached high school tennis for eight years at Brooks School in North Andover, MA, has received consistent singles play from her top two seeds, Captain Rebekah Day and Yeaton.  Yeaton leads the team with six wins thus far, followed closely by Day and Allyson Masson with five each.  Of late, Masson has been playing very well; posting singles wins in five straight matches while also teaming up with Hammar to provide the decisive doubles win in the team’s 5-4 win over Moultonborough.  In doubles competition, the Day/Coupal tandem along with Masson/Hammar lead the team with a total of four wins each.

On the boys’ side, number 1 seed Jared Labonte and Andrew Janocha ranked second are the premiere Python doubles team, according to Coach Jacob Reese.  “They are both very talented players and have only lost one match and that was last Friday to Multonboro who is a very good team this season,” conveyed Reese.  Most recently the doubles partners defeated their Wilton-Lyndeborough opponents by a 9-7 score.

Christopher Day and Chandler Rhealt fill in the number 3 and number 4 seeds, respectively, and are also the second seed doubles combo.  According to Coach Reese, “these two are always laughing and joking on the court, but they are strong in their game play.”  To the point, Day/Rhealt have been following in the path established by last year’s PHS boys’ all-world doubles partners in Matt Smith and Jared Taylor; going undefeated in doubles until their last match.

Holding down the final two slots are Devon Yabut (#5) and Thomas Janocha ranked sixth.  As Coach Reese indicated, the two players “became the heart of the team last night,” (during the Wilton-Lyndeborough match).  “Their rank 3 doubles match was going to decide which team would win the day.  It came down to the wire but in the end they went on to win their match (9-7),” recounted the PHS coach.  The boys’ next home match is scheduled for May 3 when they take on undefeated Bow while the girls next appear on the PHS courts when they take on Wilton-Lyndeborough, April 29.