YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ursuline boys tennis team has had a perfect season so far. The Irish finished the regular season with a 14-0 record and already have a tournament win under their belt.
“There’s not really a division as you would think between the varsity and junior varsity,” said senior Josh Khavari. “We all like to play the game together. We all like to hang out together. There’s not really anything that divides us. We’re all a unit.”
The close-knit team is led by nine seniors. Those seniors finished as the state runner-up in 2019 and have never lost a regular season match at Ursuline. Their experience is making all the difference this year.
“We’ve had so many guys that, quote-unquote, have been in the trenches and they know what it takes,” said head coach Kent Blacksher. “Then we got some great guys that are just there from a general attitude and keep some of the underclassmen and show them the ropes and how things got to go. So, it’s just a great mix of that senior leadership and fun atmosphere that they bring, as well as some of the younger guys playing crucial roles, too.”
The Irish’s top double pair, seniors Josh Khavari and Gavin Blacksher, finished in the top eight at states as sophomores. The two are hoping their chemistry will win them a title.
“He’s definitely kind of the fiery one. All loud, gusto power,” Blacksher said. “I kind of have to even that out and offer a little more ice to his fire in a sense. Even in a more dynamic sense, he’s left-handed and I’m right-handed in our playing styles. We definitely complement each other and we’re best friends off the court.”
The Irish have five seeded players competing in the OHSAA Singles and Doubles Sectional Tournament on May 15.