There was a time not long ago when the Mountain Pointe boys tennis team stepped off the bus for a match and the sound of the air brakes being released was symbolic.
All of the air was let out of the team before the match even began.
“We knew getting off the bus we were going to lose,” senior Justin Williams said. “Some of us were playing tennis for the first time and we knew had no chance.”
Kenny was part of the varsity four seasons ago when the Pride went 0-13 in power point matches and were nearly dead last in the entire state in Division I and included a loss to a Phoenix Union school.
“I told them after that loss that this is the bottom,” Pride coach Larry Holmes said. “No offense North (High), but Mountain Pointe doesn’t lose matches like that. The reality is we did so I told them this was rock bottom. We only could go up from there.
“At the time I said it to keep them interested, but now it is happening. It’s amazing to see how far they’ve come.”
It has been a gradual progression but the program is back to being respectable.
Mountain Pointe followed up the winless season with three wins in 2014-15 and three wins last season. Now the Pride enter the final two weeks of the regular season with a 6-4 record and the belief that they can make the state tournament.
“If we make the team state tournament with this group it would mean the restoration is complete,” Holmes said. “This is the hardest working senior class I have ever had. They aren’t ‘Me’ guys; they are ‘We’ guys. I love and have the utmost respect for them. These guys are the reason why I coach and I’m proud to be their coach.”
The three individuals who have spearheaded the return to competitive player are Justin Timmerman, Logan Kenny and Williams.
Now they step off the bus ready to compete with the knowledge that all of the hard work put in over the last three years has them prepared to take on any opponent.
“It’s been a lot of hard work over the last four years, mostly in the offseason, doing whatever coach says and trusting the process,” said Kenny, who along with Timmerman joined the program as sophomores. “We all agreed (the freshmen season) was unacceptable and it feels great knowing that we have the program back to where it belongs. We have a long way to go, but now we know we have a chance every time we play someone.”
The lineup features Zack Ramsyer, Timmerman, Williams, Matt Logan, Timo Kulig and Kenny one through six in the lineup.
“We’ve played a lot together for the last three years,” Timmerman said of the seniors. “We’ve always been around each other with the same classes and hanging out. The (underclassmen) have made us better and we all trust that everyone is doing to do their part to help us win.”
The Pride has some work to do in order to make it all pay off with a state tournament berth as they ended the week No. 27 in the power rankings.
It is going to take a great effort in order to get into the top 16, but considering how far this program has come since that winless season there is no reason to count out Mountain Pointe.
“They have dealt with folks talking about them, telling them they suck and they faced it,” Holmes said. “They overcame all of it to be this team. They know they can (get to the playoff) because they’ve come so far already.
“They are going to give it everything they have just like they did to get here.”
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