Delaware Hayes Roundup: Pacers boys tennis squad exceeds expectations

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Ryder Kardas has been one of the top players for the Delaware Hayes boys tennis team, which was 7-5 before facing Marion Pleasant on April 28. “I think we’re doing better than a lot of people expected us to do,” coach Gary Hibinger said.

Inexperience has not stopped the Delaware Hayes boys tennis team from putting together a competitive season. 

Despite returning only one player with varsity experience in junior Ryder Kardas, the Pacers were 7-5 overall before facing Marion Pleasant on April 28. They also were 3-2 in the OCC-Capital Division.

“I think we’re doing better than a lot of people expected us to do,” coach Gary Hibinger said. “Even the matches we’ve lost, most of those have been pretty competitive for us. It’s good to see the kids pushing through and grinding it out.”

Hibinger said the Pacers’ patience on the court has been a main factor in their improvement this season. 

“They understand if you hit good shots against good players they’re going to hit good shots back, and so it takes a series of good shots to win points against quality opponents,” he said. 

Sophomore Gabe Fogle said the Pacers’ work ethic has led to the players making progress even sooner than they expected.

“The team’s play so far in the season has been beyond my expectations,” he said. “Going into the season it was looking a little rough for the varsity team, but we have worked harder and harder every day to get where we are. We’ve developed faster than most young teams do.” 

The Pacers' Lucas Nogueira Balaniuc has been playing first doubles with Joe Molina. “Our doubles players are getting better at their volleys and the importance of the serve,” coach Gary Hibinger said.

Splitting first and second singles, Fogle and Kardas were a combined 18-7 through 10 matches. 

“Those two are definitely our anchors,” Hibinger said. “They’ve been holding us in there and giving us a chance regardless of the competition.” 

Playing on the singles courts can be tough on younger competitors because they’re usually facing the best players on opposing teams.

“The first and second singles spots are a little difficult to settle into for the first year of high school tennis, but it has become more and more comfortable each match,” Fogle said. “High school matches are a whole other level of experience and I am looking forward to the next few years of tennis with an excelling team.” 

Hibinger said the Pacers have received strong contributions from Grant LaMar and Ryne Higgins at third singles, while Lucas Nogueira Balaniuc and Joe Molina at first doubles and Josh Koch, Ben Dabe and Higgins at second doubles have shown progress, too. 

“Our doubles players are getting better at their volleys and the importance of the serve,” Hibinger said. “It doesn’t have to be the biggest serve to win points, but you’ve got to be consistent with it through there.” 

Defense pacing

volleyball team 

Coach Jacob Hackathorn said he has been encouraged by the boys volleyball team’s play despite a rough start record-wise.

The Pacers were 3-10 overall and 3-8 in the OCC-Ohio before facing Reynoldsburg on April 29.  

“They’re coming along pretty well,” Hackathorn said. “They’re really taking all the skills we’ve taught them and putting them into action on the court.

“We’ve been battling some injuries, so we haven’t been very healthy the last couple weeks. But the guys that are on the court have really been showing some growth.” 

Hackathorn said the biggest area of progress has been with the defense. 

“Our defense all-around is becoming a lot better (and) much more well-rounded,” he said. “We’re very much a defensive team versus an offensive team. They’re ready to play a ball all the time.” 

Inexperience has held back the offense. 

“Our offense isn’t getting generated as much as we would like it too, and that just comes with being young and these guys not having as many touches on the ball as these other teams,” Hackathorn said. “So that’s where we’re really struggling.” 

David Cauley was among the Pacers’ statistical leaders with 19 kills, eight aces and 19 assists through 11 matches. Isaac Robinson had eight kills, 15 aces and 18 assists, while Mike Trippier had eight blocks and 21 kills.

Charlie Lagando, Jack Lenocher and Jacob Payne are three players who have demonstrated marked improvement this season, Hackathorn said. 

Payne was leading the Pacers with 38 assists through 11 matches. He also had 11 kills and six assists. 

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