Shaler sophomore’s early season win shows tennis team’s depth

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Sunday, March 28, 2021 | 10:01 AM


Shaler sophomore Josh Jashinski was happy to be the last player on the tennis court.

Dragged into a battle while playing No. 1 singles for the Titans against Plum on March 17, Jashinski needed a little extra support.

Jashinski dropped a self-described error-filled second set in a tiebreak and would need to win another tiebreak to take the match.

It was all about forcing his opponent to make a mistake.

“You have to get the ball back over,” Jashinski said. “Whether or not it is the greatest shot doesn’t matter. If I put the ball back over, I will get more confident as the rally goes on. I’ll try a slice or aim for a good corner shot to throw them off.”

Jashinski collected himself in the third set and picked up his first victory as the top singles player by taking a 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-2) decision to cap a Titans sweep of Plum. Shaler (4-0, 2-0) was off to an undefeated start with its lineup in flux.

Jashinski was playing in the top singles spot because Cameron Szazynski and Connor Allen were unavailable.

“I was really proud of him,” coach Brian Duermeyer said. “I thought that was a test of his mentality as well as a test of his tennis game. He could have broken. It’s hard to be out there when everyone else is done and the match is hinging on a couple shots.”

The Titans also ended up having two other players get their first varsity win against Plum. Freshman William Nebiolo won 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2 singles, and sophomore Ethan Opiela won 6-4, 6-3 at third singles.

“I think we are all-around very talented,”Jashinski said. “We have a lot of depth, and we can fill in for each other if one is out. We don’t know what is going to happen with covid.”

Josh’s older brother Jake, who now plays soccer at St. Bonaventure, helped get him to try the sport. Since Jake played, Josh was eager to follow, just like with soccer.

Much like his brother, Josh plays tennis for the school as a second sport. With his soccer schedule, it is difficult for him to train for tennis.

“Very little,” said Jashinski when asked how often he plays in the offseason. “I’ll go out every once in a while and play with my friends in the summer. I only play matches in-season.”

Duermeyer said Josh’s athleticism helps him stay in matches. What will help him out most will be gaining more experience.

“Josh is a good tennis player,” Duermeyer said. “He just has to learn the game. His ceiling is higher than his brother’s because he played longer.”

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