Looking to repeat

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The defending state champion Bishop Hendricken tennis team has a new look this season as it attempts to take home back to back titles. The Hawks graduated 10 seniors from last year’s group, including their top singles player Chad Doorley, who was a four-year starter and one of the top players across the state last season. Longtime Hendricken coach Steve Crawford also announced his retirement, paving the way for now-former assistant Vin Palumbo to take over. “Last year coming in as an assistant, Steve knew that he had a great group of seniors. We had a great team and he thought that bringing me in could help them get over the top and win a state championship. He was a great mentor to kids for 45 years and he went out on top. I’ve got big shoes to fill,” said Palumbo. The Hawks currently sit at 3-1 this season, most recently picking up a 6-1 win over Cranston West. Hendricken lost to Wheeler in the second match of the season, but have picked up two straight wins in response. “They bounced back nicely (after the loss). They are a great group of boys and I have loved every minute of it. They love tennis and they come out every day and they want to get better. They are in enthusiastic about getting better, and they love going through drills that are sometimes mundane,” said Palumbo. Although the Hawks have gotten off to a strong start, and project to be one of the top teams in the state once again, one question they will face is experience considering the roster turnover. However, Palumbo is confident in his returners that did get varsity experience last season, and feel that the rest of the club learned plenty from the former seniors. “They learned a lot from those kids last year, that was a special group of seniors. They know what they have to do to get better, and they know that they are up against a lot of strong competition,” said Palumbo. “I think the leadership from our top three singles players, Kenny Lee, Henri Snyman, and Joe Weidinger. Those kids won a lot of big matches last year, including in the state championship, so the rest of the kids are looking up to them.”

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