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Tennis team tops Golden Hawks

Coming into the season, the Parkland tennis team was unable to have tryouts because of the weather and spent its practice time in the gym, primarily working on conditioning. When the season opened, the Trojans were happy to be out on courts and playing.

One player who was very happy to get back onto the courts is sophomore Nick Kshastri, who went to the quarterfinals of the district tournament last year as a freshman and is looking to make even more progress this season.

Kshastri made quick work of Bethlehem Catholic's Niko Franekic with a 6-0, 6-0 win. In fact, Parkland swept all three singles matches in straight sets and got an important win in doubles from the tandem of Mshad Gothoskar and Alex Wu, taking a 4-2 win over the Golden Hawks to put Parkland at 2-0 on the season.

The 4-2 win over Beca and an opening 6-1 win over Freedom stretched Parkland's consecutive win streak against Lehigh Valley Conference opponents to 105 straight matches and puts the Trojans at 2-0 to start the season.

"I play three times a week indoors, so I wasn't rusty at all," said Kshastri. "Everybody has played pretty well and I'm surprised at the level of play from a lot of our guys, because we haven't played much."

The good news is that the tennis season is finally underway, but the bad news is that the match against Beca was played in cold weather with a strong wind.

Kshastri admitted the conditions make it tough to play and it's certainly not what he's used to from playing indoors, but he and his teammates battled through.

"The weather is still awful and it's so windy, but that actually happens here [at Parkland's courts] a lot and the wind just swirls," he said. "It's hard to get used to, but it's probably tougher for the other team."

With a lot of tennis behind him, Kshastri came in last season and played as the number two singles player for the Trojans before moving up to the top spot this season. Because he plays so much, Kshastri wasn't shocked that he was able to have success in his first season.

"I don't want to brag, but because I play all year round and I know all of the guys on the team, it wasn't too difficult last year," Kshastri said. "I was expecting to play well and help the team even right from the start."

Coach Mike Hingston was impressed with the doubles play by Gothoskar and Wu, who gave the Trojans a needed win in the match against Bethlehem Catholic. Parkland won the first set in a tiebreaker and then came back to down the team of Marcin Boralianil and Padlo Turco 6-0 in the second set to get the win. With Parkland's other two doubles teams losing, the win by Gothoskar and Wu basically saved the match for the Trojans.

"I knew they were going to be tough to beat and we would need something to happen in doubles for us to get the match," said Hingston. "They really stepped up and showed something with this win.

"I was confident that they would rise to the occasion, but to see them do it just reinforced to me how tough these guys can be. We have some work to do, but considering how little practice time we've actually had, we're at a pretty good spot."

Parkland plays at Easton today and then hosts Southern Lehigh on Friday before getting back into LVC play on Tuesday when they host Liberty.