Shaler tennis grows during 7-win season

Friday, May 25, 2018 | 12:41 AM

Setting up a competitive schedule was vital to Shaler boys tennis coach Brian Duermeyer.

Building confidence for a program that features players across the spectrum of tennis experience isn't always the easiest tightrope to walk.

The WPIAL Section 3-AAA schedule is difficult enough. Making life too difficult in nonsection play could make for a long year.

This season, the Titans finished 3-4 in section, a victory out of a playoff spot. Shaler picked up seven wins, a notable increase after winning one match last season.

“Honestly, I think our season came down to the fact that we won seven matches,” Duermeyer said. “A couple of matches, we could have won were canceled because of weather. We were a competitive tennis team.”

Not having a full lineup for several section matches hurt Shaler. Duermeyer would have liked to see how the Titans would have fared with everyone back against Central Catholic.

“We were one win away, and we didn't have a full lineup,” Duermeyer said. “Had we had a full lineup, it'd be nice to know we could have won. I don't know. Singles is the name of the game. Those teams have talented singles players, and we're playing catch up in doubles.”

In the individual tournaments, Shaler's top singles player Jake Jashinski had a competitive match, a 10-8 loss to Plum's Colin Lewis, before bowing out.

Jashinski, who will play soccer at Division I St. Bonaventure, picked up tennis while he was in high school.

After have some success, and building a consistent summer program, Duermeyer is hoping to build for the future. There are about 25 players interested in coming in for a program in mid-June.

“Having them hit a tennis ball in sixth grade compared to ninth grade and having to learn the game as a freshman is a big hurdle. There's no reason we can't compete,” Duermeyer said. “I have young kids interested, and that's one of the big hurdles. It doesn't mean we are going to beat Shady Side Academy or Fox Chapel, but we can compete with everyone else.”

Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.


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