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Latin Academy tennis beats Cambridge, 5-0, behind Kenney

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs  April 3, 2013 09:50 PM

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Latin Academy's No. 1 singles player, Mark Anthony Kenney, hits a volley during the Dragon's season-opening victory against Cambridge on Wednesday afternoon. Kenney is filling it at the No. 1 slot for the injured Jimmy Ye.(Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe).

Most teams would be at a disadvantage in their opening match if their No. 1 singles player were out with a wrist injury.

Most teams are not Latin Academy.

Filling in for senior captain Jimmy Ye, senior Mark Anthony Kenney propelled Latin Academy to a 5-0 win Wednesday over Cambridge.

“He’s going to do well. He’s going to win fairly easily,” Ye said before the match started.

Ye was right. Anthony dominated junior Mehmet Ozvar, 6-2, 6-0, on a cold and windy afternoon.

“I just tried make as many balls as possible," said Kenney. "It’s a pretty bad day to play tennis; it’s cold, it’s windy. So, basically I just tried to make a lot of balls, make the right move, and it worked well."

Kenney transferred last year to BCLA after playing for Catholic Memorial. Even though BCLA allows students to play sports at Latin Academy, Kenney sat out last season for personal reasons.

However, the senior is back playing his beloved sport, and Latin Academy has his sights set high.

“[The competition] definitely helped me get better. The team’s definitely stronger. I think we can compete for the state championship this year. It’s going to be fun,” Ye said.

Ye and Kenney have played tennis together since they were in Charlestown’s youth leagues, so they know what each other brings to the table. Latin Academy coach Andy Crane said once Ye gets back from injury, they will still be competing for the No. 1 singles spot.

“They’ve played two challenge matches and each has won one of them, so we’ll just see how it goes going further. It’s going to be real competitive, no question about it,” Crane said.

Too bad the match against Cambridge did not match the teammates' competitive level.

Senior Ricardo Bailey beat senior Callum Nelson, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 2 singles, and junior Gar Paul beat junior Jeremy Sternbach, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3 singles. Latin Academy's No. 1 doubles team of junior Ming Lao and junior Saiful Mahmoud prevailed, 7-5, 6-2, and the No. 2 doubles team of freshman Troy Fredericks and Shahidad Mahmoud won in a tiebreaker, 10-6.

“We know we have a strong team and we’ve got a lot of seniors and if everybody’s healthy we’ve got a chance to win a lot of matches," said Crane. "The key matches will be the tough ones against Brookline, BC High, St. John’s Prep, and Andover. Those will be real tests for us and we’re looking forward to it.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

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