Pine-Richland boys tennis team satisfied with march to playoffs
By: Kevin Lohman
Friday, April 20, 2018 | 11:00 PM
There have been plenty of challenges for the Pine-Richland boys tennis team this season. Whether it was the matches played in bitter cold weather, or finding the best fits in the starting lineup combination, the Rams (4-4, 4-3) found a way to outlast their Section 2-AAA foes en route to a WPIAL playoff berth.
In some years, the program might take qualifying for the playoffs for granted. This year, however, with a roster full of first-year starters, coach Janet Chappell said it represents a big goal achieved.
“We finished fourth in the section, and to make the playoffs, it feels like a really great accomplishment for us,” she said. “We had to kind of change the lineup around a few times, and then when we did, we got some great results.
“There was a lot of change going on with doubles and in one of our singles spots. The team was always competing.”
For the duration of the season, Kang-Young Kim had the top singles spot on lockdown. Jared Roskin and Ethan Chan have settled in well to the No. 2 and No. 3 singles slots, respectively, Chappell said.
By the end of the season, Mike Brudy and Jason Minicozzi came together to form a formidable top doubles pairing. The No. 2 doubles did some evolving before comprising A.J. Silipo and Elliot Alexander.
It took some tinkering, Chappell said, but once the right combination fell into place, the team's chemistry and desire to win helped to balance its lack of experience.
“They were very competitive out there this season. Most of the teams in our section had much more experience than us, particularly with their singles players,” she said. “But win or lose in the playoffs, we've had a good season. The fact that the guys all kind of got together and really played as hard as they could and supported each other, that doesn't happen like that every year.
“I really appreciate everything this team did to work hard together in order to improve.”
Section singles tournaments begin April 30.
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.