Boys Varsity Tennis
Game Summaries & Headlines.
Published 12:46 p.m. ET Sept. 25, 2019 | Updated 1:08 p.m. ET Sept. 25, 2019
The Saints' No. 1 doubles aren't just teammates. They live together, too.
ST. CLAIR – The No. 5 St. Clair boys tennis team has been knocking off top-rated opponents and winning matches left and right this fall.
Some of the credit must go to the brother-sister team of Quinn and Hadley Schwarz, who play No.1 doubles for the Saints.
"It's not what I wanted to do, putting a brother and sister together at No. 1 doubles," coach Dave Clutts said. "It's just sort of the way that it happened this year.
"With the personality and skill-sets of our doubles players, with a couple of the kids being more introverted, it seemed like the brother-sister combination was the only combination that would allow us to have our Nos. 1 and 2 doubles be as effective as they have been this season."
Over the winter, the Schwarz duo started practicing as doubles partners at Port Huron Tennis House.
Quinn, a junior, played No. 4 singles his freshman year, but Clutts moved him to doubles as a sophomore. Quinn said he struggled having a partner at times, especially with team strategy. But he quickly grasped how chemistry is key to winning matches.
Hadley's freshman year has been eye-opening because she didn't have much experience playing high-level doubles.
So those off-season practices at the Tennis House have been a key to their success this season.
"Early on, a lot of it was about (figuring out) our movement on the court," Quinn said. "We were trying to communicate well with each other, and that was another part of it we had to learn."
Of course, the two have butted heads on the court.
Quite often, actually.
The duo gets little time away from each other. Not only do they live with each other, but they're at practice and in school together. Sometimes an argument at home makes it to practice. Sometimes a problem on the court makes it back home.
And sometimes Clutts has to intervene.
"Playing with my brother is really fun, and I really enjoy it," Hadley said. "We don't always get along. But, other than that, we always have a good time on the court.
"But it's been tough. When we get into fights, sometimes it's not easy to drop it when we get home or put it past us. Over the course of the season, we've tried to figure it out. We've been doing better with it as the season goes on."
So, fundamentally, what makes the Schwarz siblings successful?
Quinn says he favors his backhand more than any other shot, which allows him to capitalize on opportunities on that side. Hadley excels when attacking at the net, using her forehand to her advantage, especially when it comes to volleying.
"I think both of us really understand what our strengths and weaknesses are," Quinn said. "We're able to complement on what the other is struggling on."
Clutts said it's their competitiveness with each other that makes them a great team.
"That's the brother-sister rivalry," he said. "They want to outdo each other a bit. But they'll defend each other, too. If someone picks on your brother, you're going to defend them. They back up each other."
Hadley doesn't play tennis on the girls team in the spring because it interferes with her softball schedule.
She said her boys teammates have been welcoming and respect her just like any other player. She said her first year on varsity has been nerve-wracking, but she quickly got used to the level of play because she has faced older boys in youth matches her whole life.
Her playing with the boys has actually been an advantage for the Saints.
"A lot of (opponents) see Hadley as a girl and don't have a lot of respect for her," Clutts said. "But once they start to play her, they realize she's not a liability. They see she's as good as they are, and their attitudes quickly change."
Added Quinn: "It's not really that much different when playing with a girl. She competes with everyone else on our team. There isn't anything separating her from anyone else who plays."
The two have wins over ranked opponents such as Forest Hills Eastern and Haslett, which no Saints No.1 doubles has had in a half-decade, Clutts said. They've also taken down other ranked doubles teams, as well as helped the Saints win the Macomb Area Conference-Red earlier this month.
They have a tough regional, with Cranbrook Kingswood the likeliest team to stand in their way, but they expect to get to the state finals Oct. 18-19 at Kalamazoo College.
Should the duo have any postseason success, there won't be any fighting over who gets to keep the hardware. They live in the same house.