The high school boys tennis season began this week for some of the teams in Cape May County. Middle Township opened with a 5-0 win over Cedar Creek Wednesday. Ocean City is scheduled to get started Friday morning at Mainland. The other local teams will get started early next week, weather permitting of course.
The following is a look at each of the county’s high school boys tennis teams:
LOWER CAPE MAY
Lower Cape May features six returnees this spring, so the Caper Tigers are optimistic they can improve upon last year’s 7-9 record.
Senior Dennis Mancuso and sophomore Justin Smith will play at first and second singles, respectively. Returning players vying for third singles and doubles positions include seniors Liam Robinson and Dan Cristelo and juniors Jared Lepor and Evan Warburton.
Newcomers challenging for varsity doubles slots include junior James Leinenbach and freshman Max Souder.
“We hope to improve on last year’s record,” Lower coach Greg Douglass said. “We should be competitive at all positions.”
Lower Cape May opens its season April 9 at home against Middle Township.
— Brian Cunniff
This could be one of Middle Township’s better teams. The Panthers have six returning players from last year’s 15-2 team, including all three singles players from last season.
But all of the returnees are being bumped down in the lineup thanks to the arrival of talented freshman Max Gilbert, who steps right to the top of the setup at first singles in his debut season. Gilbert is the son of head coach Matt Gilbert.
Seniors Rob Giulian and Tathya Modi will now play at second and third singles, respectively, after competing at the top two spots a year ago.
Returnees expected to play at doubles include seniors Brayden Carr and Jack Poindexter and juniors Teran Broadnax and Nick Gibboni.
Sophomores Justin Price and Connor Farrell are also vying for varsity doubles spots.
“We’re hoping to compete for the National Conference championship and make another solid run for the (South Jersey) Group I title,” said Matt Gilbert, who enters the season three wins shy of 200 for his career.
Middle opened its season with a 5-0 win over Cedar Creek on Wednesday. The Panthers won all five matches in straight sets.
— Brian Cunniff
Tim Kelley is the new coach at Ocean City, taking over for George McNally, who resigned after last season after leading the Raider program to 164 wins in 17 seasons.
The Raiders have had two straight winning seasons and have been at .500 or better in each of the last five springs.
Senior Tanner Tomassi is scheduled to play at No. 1 singles when the Raiders open the season Friday morning at Mainland, the two-time defending South Jersey Group III champion. Senior Manav Randheri will be at second singles and senior Ryan Roller at No. 3. The first doubles team will be junior Luke Bowman and senior Calen Connell. Freshman Mike Jacobsen will team with sophomore Rich Flemming at second doubles.
Following the match with Mainland, Ocean City will play its first home match Monday against Cedar Creek.
— Tom Williams
Wildwood traditionally fields rather inexperienced teams but this year’s group brings back four players with at least some varsity experience.
The returnees include senior Luis Acevedo (first singles), sophomore Mateo Perez (second singles), senior Joshua Osoria (doubles) and sophomore Cody Koelle (doubles).
Juniors Dennis Olgun and Alex Baitista are the top newcomers.
“It’s been a rough month trying to practice in bad weather conditions so right now several positions are undetermined,” said coach Kerry Hall. “I think this group has the potential to progress as the season goes on.”
Wildwood opens at home against Penns Grove on April 9. Due to construction at its usual home facility at Fox Park, the Warriors are playing home matches at the Wildwood Crest municipal courts on Atlantic Avenue and Wisteria Road this spring.
— Brian Cunniff
This year’s Wildwood Catholic team features a senior-heavy roster, which should help the Crusaders improve upon last year’s four-win season. Those seniors include George Ghen, Irv Fenochio, Beck Lindsay, Tyler Mericle, Micah Rucci, Aidan Sorensen, Dan Stefankiewicz and Jared Wallace.
Younger players challenging for varsity slots include sophomore Scott Fiore and freshmen Elijah DiAntonio, Liam Grimes and Brett Bowers.
“Due to the tough spring weather, we’re still in the process of selecting our final roster,” said coach Tim O’Brien.
Wildwood Catholic doesn’t open its season until April 12 when it hosts Lower Cape May. The Crusaders play home matches in Stone Harbor.
— Brian Cunniff