You can't overestimate the value of experience.
Entering its second match in as many days, the Jim Thorpe boys' tennis team displayed its experience and talent against a young Tamaqua team on Wednesday.
The Olympians entered the match with close to 13 years of varsity experience in their starting lineup. Meanwhile, all seven Blue Raiders were either playing their first varsity matches ever or were playing new positions.
As may have been expected, it was the seasoned Olympians who posted a commanding 5-0 victory over the Blue Raiders.
"The experience did show today, which I expected it to," said Jim Thorpe coach Norb Leinhard. "I expected our experience to help us earn the win. We were at that point once ourselves. Now, we're up where we can beat teams that we know we should beat.
"It seemed easy, but we're still not at the point where I want us to be."
Tamaqua's first-year coach Jennel Yelito, who called the Olympians "a very talented team" was able to find some things her team could build on.
"It was good to play a team with the skill level of Jim Thorpe so we can learn from them," Yelito said. "We just wanted to take something positive out of this match and I saw improvement throughout all of our matches. So we know what we want to work on and progress through the season."
The player with the most experience was the first one to step on the court for the Olympians. Sam Lux, who is in his third year of singles' play, posted a 6-2, 6-0 win over Kyle Oliver in No. 1 singles.
Zach Ligenza, who has moved up from No. 3 to No. 2 singles this year, followed Lux off the courts by scoring a 6-0, 6-0 win over the Blue Raiders' Dillon Epler.The Olympians' doubles team followed with back-to-back victories. Mitch Franko and Dan Meader scored a 6-0, 6-2 win over their Blue Raiders opponents, while Oliver Schultz and Josh Mohn recorded a 6-0, 6-1 win.
Spencer Bennett showed some promise though for the Blue Raiders at No. 3 singles, although the Olympians' James Denny still picked up a straight set victory, 6-3, 6-4.
Despite the easy win, Leinhard expects to see a different Blue Raiders' squad the next time the teams meet.
"Obviously, they're going to learn from what they did today," Leinhard said. "To improve, you have to learn that win or lose you're still learning and you improve the next game. That's all it takes.
"Hopefully, that's all they're worried about this year is improving everytime they step on the court. If they do that, they'll be fine at the end of the year."
Jim Thorpe 5, Tamaqua 0
Lux (JT) def. Oliver 6-2, 6-0; Ligenza (JT) def. Epler 6-0, 6-0; Denny (JT) def. Bennett 6-3, 6-4
Schultz/Mohn (JT) def. Betz/Fiorilla 6-0, 6-1; Franko/Meader (JT) def. Binder/Johnson 6-0, 6-2