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This was one of my most memorable matches ever. Doug was moved up to varsity that day and Coach Stein decided that it would be better for me to drop down to second doubles and play with Doug. My normal position was playing first doubles with Rob, but I guess Coach Stein figured that Doug and I would have some good chemistry. His strategy worked as Doug and I obliterated Newton's second doubles team. I was on fire and my two hand backhand was intense. We prevented Hopatcong from being shutout. This was definitely one of the key matches that led to me being named the first Athlete of the Week in Hopatcong Tennis history.

The great thing about playing first doubles was that it was our match that usually ended up making the difference in the whole match. We relied heavily on our singles players (Mike, Ed, Stick), but Rob and I were a pretty powerful punch to clean up whenever one of them faltered. We were too weak at the second doubles spot to ever have to rely on them. In this match, Ed lost so it all came down to me and Rob. I loved having everyone come over to watch our match when it came down to us. Nothing beats that thrill and that's what I miss most.

Check out the middle column of the article. I remember our Athletic Director, Steve Trimper, came up to me the next day in school and asked me what the heck happenned in the match to have us win at the odd score of 6-0,3-6,6-0. It was funny. I guess we knew we were going to win easily so we got a little sloppy in the second set. Sometimes Rob and I just liked to blast the ball.

It was always fun beating Pope John. They we in a rebuilding year that year and Rob and I easily walked through the match. Mike, our first singles, lost twice to the first singles player for Pope John, so we never got to have a shut-out. And to this day, we still say he threw the matches because his girlfriend at the time went to Pope John. Sorry Mike :)

I remember once playing Kittatinny when we played for like ten minutes, it began raining, and we had to pack it in and go back home. The bus rides were always fun because most of them were pretty long. Most of the teams in the SCIL (Sussex County Interscholastic League) were deep into Sussex County farmland. I remember High Point having cows grazing in front of the school. And back to the rides, we had the meanest bus driver lady who made us all wear seatbelts unless we had photo ID stating that we were 18 years of age. Too funny.

Hopatcong lost this match, but Rob and I won our match and played awesome, beating their first doubles team. I vividly remember this match because this was the start of my unstoppable two hand backhand. It was such a powerful shot that the guys on High Point were double faulting against me because if they missed their first serve, they were afraid of giving me a slow second serve, because I was slamming it down their throats. I would aim right at them. They had no chance. I was literally untouchable.

Our co-captiains, Mike and Ed were responsible for calling in our scores to the newspapers after each match. Sometimes Mike thought it was funny to give them our names spelled wrong. This one is one of the best. Chris Avlarmo. Yep, that's me. I remember getting mad at him, telling him I didn't mind if he gave them the wrong name when I lost, but when I won, I wanted to see my name in there correctly! But at least I wasn't the only victim. Three of our four doubles players have mispellings here.

We were supposed to ammount to nothing in 1994. It was supposed to be the year for us to simply get our feet wet. But we came on strong. We laid the foundation for Hopatcong Chief's tennis and stole some headlines in the process. Maybe it's because we had a lot to prove. Maybe it's because we had a senior dominated team and we knew this would be our last shot at competitive tennis. Either way, we got the job done.

I spent the first three years of my high school springs playing for the golf team. It was a tough decision during my senior year to jump ship and start playing tennis, but it's one that I've never regretted. The tennis team was around as a junior varsity team when I was a junior, but I was still playing golf. So I was a newcomer my senior year when I was selected to become a member of the first varsity squad. It was an awesome season from a team perspective and from a personal perspective. At the Spring Sports Awards, I was selected as the Most Improved Player on the team. That pretty much capped my scholastic tennis career, but by no means marked the end of my tennis career. Beyond my high school success, I won the Hopatcong doubles tournament in 1993 with Stick and in 1999, Doug and I won the Drew University doubles tournament.

I always thought it was pretty cool that I lettered in two sports of the same season. For my first three years in high school, I played on the golf team. Senior year I made the switch to tennis and racked up my second letter in a Spring sport.

Coach Stein was one of the greatest coaches, greatest tennis players, and greatest guys I've ever known. He kept us in line, he trained us, he prepared us. After that first win, I could tell how proud he was of us. I remember the Lenape Valley coach being taken totally off guard by losing to us. This was our start. I started out at second doubles with Armando (my eventual roommate at Cornell for all four years).