The Salem News
---- — BOYS TENNIS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
No tennis player on the North Shore was more consistent this past spring than ninth grade standout Matthew Jacobs. The freshman brought his A-game every match, losing only a handful of games the entire regular season without dropping a single set at first singles against the best players in the Northeastern Conference.
“He puts in the time to develop his skills,” said Big Blue head coach Neil Whitehouse. “He’s fully dedicated to tennis as his sport. Where most high school players it’s a seasonal thing for them, he’s dedicated — and as a result has developed his skill.”
Jacobs was 17-0 in the regular season and won his first three matches in the state individual tournament. He even registered a golden set for the first time in his life where he took every possible point in a set.
“My biggest strengths physically as a player are my forehand and movement,” said the NEC Small Player of the Year. “Mentally, however, I work at staying in the moment, competing well and keeping my focus.”
Jacobs’ IQ and work ethic extend ofF the court as he was named Swampscott’s student-athlete of the month in June.
On the court, Jacobs has great range and can hit every shot he needs.
“He’s such a complete player,” said Whitehouse. “He has an amazing ability to anticipate and take a low shot and turn it to his advantage. He has a unique drop shot that I’ve never seen on a two-handed backhand in any other player. Those are the things that make him a unique player.”
St. John’s Prep Junior
Received the St. John’s Prep Coaches Award for his efforts this past season … Scored a big 7-6, 6-4 win at third singles in the Prep’s 3-2 win over Lexington in the Division 1 North semifinals ... Went on to dominate his Westford Academy opponent, 6-0, 6-1 in the North finals … Holds a 4.5 GPA … Has a powerful serve and a relentless return game.
Second Singles/Third Singles/First Doubles
Team captain played in different spots on the court depending on his team’s need … Was 9-3 on the season … Named team MVP … Believes his forehand to be his biggest weapon … Considers his favorite memory this spring to be when he picked up his first win at second singles … Points to his father’s motivation as his biggest athletic influence.
Captain graduated with a 3.4 GPA and will attend UMass Amherst this fall … Finished his senior campaign with a 12-4 record ... Went 8-1 in Northeastern Conference matches … Four-time Northeastern Conference all-star ... First Team All-Conference and league MVP this spring ... Considers his biggest strength to be his backhand … Favorite memory this spring was defeating Beverly at home.
Went 13-2 at third singles ... Team captain ... Had his biggest win against a tough North Reading opponent … Regards Jesse Owens as his biggest athletic influence for the Olympic track and field legend’s ability to overcome great challenges … Holds a 4.4 GPA and hopes to study English and film after high school … Was named Cape Ann League Player of the Week during the season.
The 6-foot 3 sophomore made it to the state quarterfinals this spring … Holds a 3.5 GPA … Finished with an 11-3 record at first singles … Considers the biggest influence on his athletic career to be teammate senior Joe Love for his ability to play through injury … Was named the Cape Ann League Player of the Week during the season … Had his best moment on the court in a wild, third set comeback win over Amesbury’s Matt Bellino.
St. John’s Prep Senior
A Division 1 North finalist in the Individual Tournament, he finished 15-5 on the season and 30-10 overall in his career … Defeated Chris Ellis of St. John’s Shrewsbury, who was ranked second in New England … Team captain graduated with a 4.4 GPA and will play tennis on scholarship at for the UConn Huskies … Was named team MVP for the Eagles.
Will attend Le Moyne College in Syracuse next fall … A team captain … Considers teammate Woody Watson to be his biggest athletic influence because Watson always stays calm and collected … Came back from match point against Austin Prep in the Division 3 North quarterfinals … Finished the spring with a 10-4 record at first doubles.
St. John’s Prep Junior
Scored a major singles win vs. B.C. High early this spring to set the tone for a great season … Holds a 4.1 GPA ... Top choice after high school is Boston College … Only lost twice in singles all season long … A great finesse player who dictates play with smart, well-placed shots … Dominated his Division 1 North finals opponent in the Eagles’ 5-0 win over Westford Academy.
Was 10-7 overall playing the top singles spot for the Chieftains … Holds a 4.5 GPA … Considers the motivation and support from his family to be the biggest influence on his athletic career … Defeated Lynnfield’s James Hook 6-0, 6-3 in what he believes to be his best individual performance of the spring.
Advanced to the second round of the State Individual tournament for the first time in four years after defeating Northeastern Conference rival Josh Cronin of Beverly … Holds a 3.9 GPA and plans to major in business while playing tennis in college … Was 15-5 on the season ... Earned NEC second team all-star honors … Will be a captain for the Magicians next season.
Picked up individual wins both times the Falcons faced powerful Marblehead this season … Won his only playoff match this season while going 13-2 this past spring … Will be a captain for the Falcons next season … Hopes to major in engineering and play tennis at the collegiate level … Holds a 3.7 GPA … Named the Danvers team MVP and was a Northeastern Conference all-star.
Had a monster freshman season for Salem, going 16-1 overall at the third singles spot … Named team MVP for maintaining such a high level of play throughout the spring … Recorded a golden set against Peabody in which he won all 24 points in a set without dropping a single one … Considers his older brother Aidan to be his biggest athletic influence.
Northeastern Conference all-star had his best matches of the season in a win over Boston Latin as well as both times the Magicians played rival Swampscott … Team MVP ... Finished the spring with a 15-5 record ... Holds a 3.0 GPA … Plans on majoring in either business or education while continuing either his hockey or tennis career in college.
The undisputed emotional leader of this year’s Swampscott team that made it all the way to the Division 3 North semifinals … Team captain took younger Big Blue teammates under his wing and held the team together … Exceptional athlete relied on his natural ability in games to dominate opponents … Type of kid who makes everyone around him better.
Beverly: Antuan Tran, Sr., third singles; Mac Gotsch, Sr. doubles; Josh Cronin, Sr., first singles.
Bishop Fenwick: Sean Gannon, Sr., singles; Zach Mutti, Sr., singles.
Hamilton-Wenham: Joe Love, Sr., second singles.
Ipswich: Forrest Finn, Jr., first doubles; Ryan Davis, Jr., first doubles..
Marblehead: Griffin Butterfield, Soph., third singles; Dimitri Vlassov, Soph., first doubles; Jason Frost, Jr., first doubles.
Masconomet: Clay Greenberg, Soph., second doubles; Sam Gordon, Soph., second doubles.
Peabody: Alex McDonough Jr., Scott Perlman, Jr.
Pingree: Hayden Steward, Sr., first singles.
St. John’s Prep: Ian Wright, Sr., first doubles; Jonathan Shaffer, Sr., doubles.
Salem: Tahmid Raji, Sr., first singles; Aidan Scrimgeour, Sr., second singles.
Swampscott: Sam Crimmins, Sr., first doubles; Matt Gillberg, Sr., first doubles.