Boys’ tennis finds success in condensed early season

Team with 4-3 record after 3 straight losses and 4 straight wins

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Boys’ tennis finds success in condensed early season

Junior Gerald Perelman smashes a return against Bloomington Jefferson in his match April 24. Park lost 1-6.

Junior Gerald Perelman smashes a return against Bloomington Jefferson in his match April 24. Park lost 1-6.

Grace Farley

Junior Gerald Perelman smashes a return against Bloomington Jefferson in his match April 24. Park lost 1-6.

Grace Farley

Grace Farley

Junior Gerald Perelman smashes a return against Bloomington Jefferson in his match April 24. Park lost 1-6.

Seven matches into the season, the boys’ tennis team lost its first three consecutive matches, losing to Bloomington Jefferson and Chanhassen 1-6, then Hopkins 2-5. Afterward, the team turned over with a winning streak, beating Chaska 5-2, Park Center 4-3, and sweeping both Richfield and Bloomington Kennedy 7-0.

According to head coach David Breitenbucher, the team is still comfortably on track, with lingering winter snow forcing only two matches to be canceled without being rescheduled.

“It’s just been a little bit frustrating for everybody, usually you get matches that are spread out, it’s a lot of tennis in a little amount of time. We were all just itching to get out playing matches after being stuck inside for so long,” Breitenbucher said.

Junior Isaac Swartz said despite competitive play, early losses and imperfect player synchrony were a disappointment for the team.

“There were a few very close matches, guys were playing very well. We did our best, we got the most practices we could, but this was not a great start to the season,” Swartz said. “We didn’t really know where were all were going to be, I would say some of the top guys weren’t necessarily the best with the lower guys.”

According to senior captain Sam Birnberg, he anticipates the team will put its best effort foot forward going into coming matches. Birnberg said the team is staying on top of its game despite the unusually heavy match schedule.

“In terms of expectations the guys are going to give it all they got,  go out there play hard and play well,” Birnberg said. “The guys have really done a great job of staying active, competitive and been really flexible, it’s given us a chance to continue working and improving. The only issue is practice doesn’t work out as well just since it’s interspliced with different games.”

Senior captain Adam Johnson said the team will continue to work on the fundamentals of the game, with doubles and singles players especially working on mastery of separate skills.

“We’ve been having a great season so far. For the doubles guys, we’ve been focusing on communication, playing aggressive playing at the net, and strategy, with the single guys we’ve just been hitting, getting familiar with how they play, and how each other play and pushing each other,” Johnson said. “Overall we’ve been on the fundamentals, footwork, hustle, and aggressiveness.”

According to Birnberg, the team’s lineups and positions may be more interchangeable than previous years this season due to a lack of early practices and games.

“The lineups are definitely fluid, there’s guys that have cemented their standing, and others who really need to do some shuffling as guys get better and different matchups happen,” Birnberg said. “It’s really up to the coaches but I believe there will be some movement in terms of who plays where and who plays with who.”

Breitenbucher said despite an imperfect start to the season, he expects there to be a large margin of improvement over a very short period of time.

“It’s always so interesting to see where you are at the beginning vs where you are at the end. We were really rough the first few matches, but we’ve actually been playing some pretty good tennis,” Breitenbucher said. “That 5-2 Chaska win is a really nice win for us.”

According to GoPark.org, the team’s next match is 4:00 p.m. May 7 at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School against Robbinsdale Armstrong.

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