Hampton tennis holds down fort with top player hurt

Friday, April 20, 2018 | 12:33 AM

It's not often a tennis team can lose its best singles player and improve — but that's what the Hampton boys have seemed to accomplish.

When sophomore Ben Ringeisen went down during basketball season with an ankle injury, tennis coach Grant McKinney had major cause for concern. But the rest of the team stepped up in a big way. As of last week, the team sat at 12-3, and Ringeisen returned to his No. 1 spot.

“We were really fortunate to have depth,” McKinney said. “Good play from the juniors that stepped up from (junior varsity) last year. They've been a really good solidifying force while Ben has been out.”

Knowing the team would need to compensate with solid doubles play, juniors Peter Andrews, Peter Fung and Alex Butch came into the season well prepared.

“They worked really hard in the offseason,” McKinney said. “I think they all wanted to not just make the team, but come in and contribute. That's a different mindset. Some guys are just happy to make the team.”

The doubles pairings have been paced by senior captain Tim Miller, who has teamed with Andrews, and Fung and Butch run with the second pairing.

“He's really a fantastic leader,” McKinney said of Miller. “He's done a nice job with those new doubles pairings and the new guys. Just showing them a steady work ethic.”

The first pairing showed up in a close 3-2 victory against section rival Moon, and the second pairing pulled out a big win in three sets, helping the Talbots avenge last season's first-round loss to Mt. Lebanon in the

WPIAL playoffs.

The three losses came to respectable opponents — Peters Township, Fox Chapel, North Allegheny.

“We've been able to sweep some singles even without Ben,” McKinney said. “But when you don't have your top guy, you're going to have to pick up some doubles points. We've been able to do that.”

The Talbots took their first-round game against Penn Trafford on Wednesday night, 4-1.


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