Doubles teams look to provide Kits

Despite losing a group of talented players from the class of 2013, boys tennis will look for their veteran doubles tandems to lead them on this year.

“We will probably focus our top players in doubles in the hopes of amassing a nice record to get seeded well in Sectionals,” said head coach Marcus Plonus.

In the high school tennis format, it often pays greater dividends to put the focus on doubles, rather than singles.  Though the Kits did not have any singles players advance past sectionals last year, the team of Sam Wiener and Connor Woolf made it downstate as a doubles pair.

“We’ve got a great group of guys,” said Plonus.  “They’ve all been working hard and gearing up for the start of match play in April.”

Despite losing a group of talented and hard-working seniors, the team is feeling optimistic about their goals.

“I think we all want what any other team wants at the beginning of the season,” said senior Lloyd Shatkin.  “I want a ring.”

If the squad hopes to live up to such big expectations, the veteran players on the team will have to come through consistently.

“Returning top starters Ethan ‘Ethan’ Schnoll, Alex Velasco, and Ben Garfin have a lot of weight on their shoulders playing the top of the lineup against our powerhouse-filled schedule,” said Plonus.

Schnoll in particular emphasized the talent level he sees, especially among the underclassmen.

“I think we are going to have plenty of individual successes,” said Schnoll. “We just need to come together and get the team dynamic to click.”

Though the varsity returnees will clearly carry the majority of the leeway moving forward in the year, the underclassmen and newcomers have shown bright spots, and are primed to break out.

“Sophomores David Wolff and Duncan Merchand have been playing very well and should pair up as a doubles team,” said Plonus.  “Juniors Austin Klopfer and Conrad Gordon have raised their level of play in the offseason and will be big contributors this season.”

Class of 2013 players Sam Wiener and Connor Woolf went downstate as a doubles team last year, and Plonus sees the potential for more from this year’s team.

“We lost a lot of talent when the seniors graduated, but it’s not a stretch to get two doubles teams to State if the ball rolls our way, so to speak.”

In short, opposing teams will be sure not to underestimate the Kits’ youth.

Otherwise, they could be facing “break point.”