There's no doubt the bar was raised this season for Jack Vissichiccio and his Friends Academy teammates.
Vissichiccio and fellow senior captain Raghav Kedia were given the responsibility of leading a boys tennis team coming off its best finish in school history after reaching the Nassau semifinals last season. Add on the graduation of Andrew Yaraghi, the 2012 state singles runner-up who now plays first singles for Amherst College, and the pressure was on.
But so far this season, Vissichiccio, Kedia and the rest of the Quakers have raised their games.
Friends Academy is off to a 4-0 start, tied for first place with Roslyn in Conference I-B, and coach Brian Baxter said it's because the Quakers have depth and are playing with confidence.
"We have six or seven really solid guys who can compete with each other and that's made us stronger. Instead of having one guy who was a few levels above everybody else, we have a lot of depth this year so guys have been challenging each other in practice and that's helped," Baxter said.
"I think we took Andrew for granted last year sometimes and now everyone has to step up from top to bottom even more, and that's what we're starting to see now."
Vissichiccio has taken over the first singles slot, while Ian Friedman has settled into second singles. Kedia and his doubles partner Anthony Muran recently earned the top doubles slot on the roster with Greg Rosenthal and Bhavid Vaid now at second doubles.
With the way they're playing, the Quakers could very well reach their goal of winning the I-B division, but Baxter realizes there's still a long way to go -- including two matches with 4-0 Roslyn.
"Last year we had our best season ever and this year we've had a different attitude," Baxter said. "We've had a good start, but to me Nassau tennis is the best tennis in New York so we constantly have a battle."