With a few new faces, some returning and one long absent Buccaneer graduate, the Georges Valley High School boys tennis squad has begun its season.

Georges Valley alumnae Kathryn Armstrong heads the team as she returns to the school where she had a history of Buc athletic success. Armstrong, sister of first singles player Gordon Armstrong, played four years of Buc tennis and has coached tennis and sailing since.

This season, she has high hopes for the boys squad from Thomaston.

“The team, as a whole, is strong, and all of my players are very athletic and in good shape,” she said. “We are working on honing individual skills and mentally strengthening our game.”

The Bucs includes senior Cy McGeady (who will play third singles); juniors Gordon Armstrong (first singles), Charlie Baker (second singles) and Wesley Bryant (second doubles); sophomores Luke Rector (first doubles), Tyler Gilson (first doubles), Jack Crockett (second doubles), Sam Crockett (first exhibition) and Sawyer Pillsbury (first exhibition); and Rockland District High School freshmen Cameron Butler (second exhibition) and Evan Billington (second exhibition).

RDHS does not have enough students interested to have a boys tennis team this spring, but will combine with GVHS to form Oceanside High School next year. Thus, the Tigers are allowed to play exhibition matches with the Bucs.

The Bucs lost Ketch Cowan, Derek Sanborn and Alex Grierson to graduation from last year’s team.

Even though the coach was not able to see the team play last year, she said she has been pleased with the efforts of the young athletes thus far.

“I am very impressed by both the level of athleticism and positive attitudes on the court with my team,” she said.

The coach looks forward to seeing the team compete and prove themselves. She said the Bucs have plenty to look ahead to.

For one, Gordon Armstrong “is an aggressive player with a powerful serve who is looking forward to a challenging and exciting season,” she said. Baker, on the other hand, is consistent and smart, she said. Presently he is working on his mental game and power.

The team also includes two players from Rockland, who doesn’t have a team this year. Coach Armstrong hopes to see good things from both, especially Butler.

“Butler came to me with a strong arm and lot of skill,” she said. “I am excited to train him with the team, and I expect a lot of success from him throughout his high school tennis career.”

Looking ahead, the coach feels the team’s greatest challenges from opponents will be Boothbay Region, Monmouth Academy and Lisbon of Lisbon Falls. However, she thinks her team will pull through.

“The interesting thing about tennis is, despite team camaraderie and unity, the points of the game depend on the approach of the individual player,” she said. “I expect all my players to begin each match with a competitive, friendly and determined attitude.

“The mental game of tennis is just as important as the physical aspect, and I hope to encourage my players to play their best possible game when on the courts, despite the competition,” the coach said

Coach Armstrong has bigger picture goals as well. With her eyes far ahead, she wants to strengthen the team for 2012. Although she will be living abroad working for a non-profit instead of coaching she wants to prepare the team.

“I hope to strengthen the team unity this season to provide an excellent team for Regional School Unit 13 in 2012,” she said. “I have high hopes for Cameron Butler, who will be a huge asset to the team next year. With enough hard work and determination, I expect a successful and dedicated boys tennis team for Oceanside High School.”

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at fritz@villagesoup.com.