PLAYERS TO WATCH: The entire starting lineup returns for Bishop Eustace, including senior Vince Paetow, who emerged as the No. 1 singles player as a junior. Jack Celano, a starter at singles the last two years, filled the second spot last season, and fellow senior John Cao also hopes to return to the singles lineup. Varsity veterans Sean Lippincott and Brandon Ruskey, both seniors, played first doubles together in 2016, while seniors Antonio Carletti and Jason Danielewicz were partners at second doubles. Juniors Anthony Berna and Chase Turner also have doubles experience.
OUTLOOK: With a ton of senior leadership, the Crusaders are poised to improve on last year’s 7-10 record.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cherokee graduated three starters, including its top two singles players, but has several solid players to build around. Senior Andrew Cervantes, a varsity starter since his sophomore year, played third singles last season and could be a candidate for the No. 1 position. Senior Joe Sisti could also move to singles after playing first doubles in 2016. Senior Konrad Scroger and sophomore Sufi Zekaria return after playing second doubles together, and sophomore Blake Sokol also saw varsity time and should be ready for a bigger role.
OUTLOOK: The Chiefs went 5-8 last year and lost in the first round of the South Jersey Group IV playoffs. They hope to contend for a winning record this spring.
Cherry Hill East
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cherry Hill East brings back all three singles players, including senior Rahul Goculdas, who made the all-South Jersey first team. Goculdas won his second straight Camden County singles title and reached the round of 32 in the state singles tournament. Sophomore Adam Yu played second singles as a rookie and junior Elan Boyarsky, who made the county semifinals, filled the third slot. Sophomore Kevin Hu was part of the first doubles team that won the county championship, and Max Sobel is another sophomore with varsity experience. Senior Avneet Chawla will also look to contribute.
OUTLOOK: The Cougars went 11-5 and reached the South Jersey Group IV final in 2016. They have the potential for another strong season with Goculdas leading the way.
Cherry Hill West
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cherry Hill West graduated key parts of its starting lineup for the second year in a row, and lost No. 1 singles Eric Nguyen to transfer. Stanley Fong, Phuoc Ho and Alex Chang are returners who started at doubles last year and could move into singles positions. New varsity players looking to make an impact include Andy Lam and Ethan Angud.
OUTLOOK: The Lions lack experience but hope to take some important steps forward as a program.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Clearview graduated its entire starting lineup from last year—including the first doubles team that reached the Gloucester County final—so new leaders will clearly have to emerge. Senior Keshav Keswani and junior Sean Bosch are returners who hope to take on bigger roles and help the program continue its winning ways.
OUTLOOK: The Pioneers went 13-8 and reached the South Jersey Group IV quarterfinals in 2016 thanks to a 3-2 playoff win over Rancocas Valley. It will be interesting to see how the new lineup develops this spring.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Eastern graduated five starters but does bring back senior Ashwin Ramesh, who has played No. 1 singles the last two years. He was named all-Group IV by the South Jersey Tennis Coaches Association. Senior Kautic Agrawal also returns after playing third singles last year. Junior Ben Dias also has varsity experience and junior Yinin Li will look to contribute as well.
OUTLOOK: The Vikings posted a 13-6 record and advanced to the South Jersey Group IV semifinals. They hope to remain competitive with Ramesh leading the way.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Gloucester Catholic only brings back one starter, but he is an important one. Senior Mike Hiester manned the No. 1 singles spot and earned all-conference first-team honors. Also a starter on the basketball team, Hiester is a solid athlete and will be a crucial for the Rams this season. John Lutz, Joe Polidoro and Tim Reiners are other seniors who are expected to contribute.
OUTLOOK: The Rams went 5-7 last year and will need the rest of the lineup to develop behind Hiester to stay competitive this spring.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Haddonfield said farewell to its entire starting singles lineup, including Sam Oberholtzer, who finished second in career wins for the program. Returning starters include seniors Noah Kamerling and Jon Skiba, who played first doubles and made the South Jersey Tennis Coaches Association’s all-South Jersey team. Junior Will Bond was part of the second doubles team that won the Colonial Conference title, and sophomore Teo Lupinetti also gained doubles experience as a freshman. Freshman Will Oberholtzer is expected to have an immediate impact and battle for one of the singles positions. He is the younger brother of Sam and Max, a 2014 graduate who also had an outstanding career at Haddonfield. Other players who will contend for playing time are seniors Nick DeNinno, Luke Snyder and Liam McGurrin; juniors Mason Cohen and Chris Rice; and sophomores Nico Cohen, Mo Jishi and Alex Dante.
OUTLOOK: The Bulldawgs extended their streak of sectional championships to 14 last year before falling in the Group II state semifinals. The new-look starting lineup will attempt to continue the program’s winning tradition.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Kingsway graduated its top two singles players and one other starter, but there is some exciting young talent in the program. That includes sophomore Jake Mostoller, who earned the No. 3 singles spot as a rookie and could battle for the first or second position this year. Ajay Chhita and Domenic Marino are other sophomores who saw varsity time as freshmen. Senior Lou Maroney and junior Marcus Holly are key returners who played first doubles together, and senior Jimmy Sarchese also has doubles experience. Rohit Nambiar, a junior, is also expected to contribute.
OUTLOOK: The Dragons went 10-12 and reached the South Jersey Group IV quarterfinals. They have a solid core in place and hope to contend for a winning record.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Lenape brings back almost the entire starting lineup, including all three singles players. Leading the way is junior Jack Lavin, who has held the No. 1 singles spot since his freshman year. Lavin competed in the state singles tournament and was named all-South Jersey by the South Jersey Tennis Coaches Association. Junior Marc Ignarri and sophomore Jimmy Li are other returners who started at singles. Junior Jeremy Shpigel played first doubles and the second doubles team of junior Brett Chow and sophomore Allen Sha is also back. Both of last year’s doubles teams were named all-Group IV by the SJTCA. Sophomore Brandon Hsiao also saw time at doubles, and two freshmen who could battle for varsity positions are Sidharth Perry and Sreejith Nair.
OUTLOOK: The Indians’ 13-8 season featured their second straight berth in the South Jersey Group IV semifinals. With so much talent returning, another successful campaign appears likely.\
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Moorestown has high hopes for the 2017 season with the entire starting lineup returning. Junior Connor Dickerson put together a terrific season at first singles, as he advanced to the round of 32 at the state singles tournament. He also reached the final of both the Burlington County Open and the Burlington County Scholastic League Tournament. Dickerson was joined on the all-South Jersey first team by Marc Mounzer, a senior who filled the second singles spot. Junior Akshay Bhalodia is also back after manning the third singles position. The first doubles team of seniors David Blatcher and Noah Michaud and the second doubles duo of juniors Adi Bulusu and Dan Rohrbach were all named all-South Jersey by the South Jersey Tennis Coaches Association. Blatcher and Michaud claimed titles at the county open, the BCSL Tournament and the South Jersey Interscholastic Championships. Junior Dylan Paul has also been a regular in the lineup the last two years and may be in contention for a singles spot. Freshman Mike Leese will also look to crack the starting lineup.
OUTLOOK: The Quakers finished with a 22-7 record in 2016 and reached the Central Jersey Group III final. They should be in the mix for a sectional championship and possibly a state crown as well.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Moorestown Friends graduated first singles Harvey Robin, who made the round of 32 at the state singles tournament. But the rest of the starting lineup is back, including junior second singles Andrew Lin, who made the all-Friends League first team, and sophomore third singles Liam Schenk, who was honorable mention. Seniors Dylan Carilli and Jordan White played first doubles and were also honorable mention in the Friends League. Senior Hunter Harris and junior Andrew Landesman played second doubles together, and senior Alex Barrett is another experienced doubles player. Senior Nick Tursi is also back with the team after taking a year off from tennis to participate in language competitions in China. He will compete for a starting spot along with senior transfer Ivo Ivonovic.
OUTLOOK: The Foxes’ 12-6 season included their third straight berth in the South Jersey Non-Public B final. It wouldn’t be surprising to see that streak continue.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Paul VI has a solid foundation that includes junior Will Lyons, who ended last season in the No. 1 singles spot. Senior Tim Long is another valuable singles player who has been starting since his sophomore season. Seniors Robbie Schafer and John Ciliberto are experienced doubles players who could also challenge for a singles spot.
OUTLOOK: With the duo of Lyons and Long leading the way, the Eagles hope to add a few more wins this season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Seneca suffered key losses to graduation, including four-year first singles Cody Cassise— who reached the round of 32 at the state singles tournament—and four other three-year varsity players. Juniors Mark Pogozelski and Thomas Jeanson earned starting spots last year as sophomores and played second doubles together. They both could be in the mix for singles positions. Senior Ryan Thomas and sophomore Stephen Oliva are other returners expected to contribute.
OUTLOOK: The Golden Eagles’ 2016 campaign included a 14-4 record and a close loss to Mainland in the South Jersey Group III semifinals. They expect to compete during a rebuilding season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Shawnee graduated just two starters but they were both major contributors: No. 1 singles Eric Tecce, who went 27-4 and was crowned Burlington County champion; and Chris Machuzak, who played first doubles for four years and was part of 99 career wins. Luckily they have Eric’s brother, senior Cole Tecce, ready to step into the top spot. He went 30-1 and reached the round of 32 at the state singles tournament as a junior. Senior Nick Falcone is another important returner who manned the third singles spot in 2016. Senior Ben Mead could challenge for a singles position after playing first doubles, and sophomore Jacob Delancy returns after playing second doubles. Sophomores Aditya Deshmukh and James Murray are also expected to contribute, and three freshmen are set to challenge for varsity positions.
OUTLOOK: The Renegades captured their fifth straight sectional championship last spring on their way to an 18-2 record. The talent is in place to make a run at No.6.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: St. Augustine Prep has a talented crop of returners led by senior Jordan Burhanna, a three-year varsity starter who emerged as the No. 1 singles as a junior. He was named a Non-Public all-star by the South Jersey Tennis Coaches Association along with sophomore Mike Giunta, who played third singles as a rookie. Those two are expected to compete for the No. 1 singles spot. Another returning sophomore is Reilly Burhanna—Jordan’s younger brother— who played first doubles as a freshman with Max Szamreta, a senior.
OUTLOOK: The Hermits went 12-4 and made it to the South Jersey Non-Public A semifinals in 2016. A strong nucleus should lead to another successful campaign.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Most of the starting lineup returns for Washington Township, including three seniors who held down the singles spots: Arash Vahidi, Angelo Pingol and Rob Minnick. Vahidi and Pingol have been varsity starters since they were sophomores and hope to finish strong this spring. Junior Sean McAteer and sophomore Chris Mananggit also return after playing first doubles together. Junior Markus Kern is another experienced doubles player who will contribute.
OUTLOOK: The Minutemen gained valuable experience during a rebuilding season and should see the dividends in 2017.
To see all of the spring tennis schedules, click here.
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 11 (January, 2016).
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