2013 Boys High School Tennis Capsules

Northeast Ohio Conference

Elyria Pioneers

Coach: Matt Brinda

Key returners: Scotty Behmer (sr.), Jeff Emilio (jr.), Aaton Tolson (sr.)

Outlook: Elevating their level of play drastically, the Pioneers followed up a 3-7 2011 campaign with a 9-5 finish in 2012. This go-round Elyria will need to compensate for graduating five letterwinners from a group that also earned a 4-1 conference posting.

Sandusky Bay Conference

Edison Chargers

Coach: Ryan Meredith

Key returners: Chris Westfall (sr.), Colin Lombardi (sr.), Carl Riems (soph.)

Last year’s record: 4-11

Outlook: The Chargers turned in third-place finishes at the Sandusky Invitational and Port Clinton Doubles Tournament last campaign, but lost a number of players to graduation, including district qualifier Connor Russel. Westfall and Riems will battle for first singles and Lombardi will pair up with Nate Meridith to play first doubles.

Huron Tigers

Coach: Julie Woodward

Key returners: Dakota Jones (sr.), Dylan Recard (sr.), Deryk Wray (soph.)

Last year’s record: 4-12

Outlook: While Julie Woodward has over 25 years of experience coaching tennis, 2013 stands as her first year at the helm for the Tigers. Her team is fronted by a pair of well-rounded seniors in Jones and Recard, as well as a developing sophomore in Wray, all of whom will see action in singles and doubles. A lack of consistency plagued Huron last year, though competition between a pack of experienced players vying for starting spots could help remedy that issue.

Perkins Pirates

Coach: Joe Taylor

Key returners: Manickam Manickam (jr.), Josh Rohrbacker (jr.), Gabe Murray (sr.)

Last year’s record: 16-2

Outlook: The Pirates are out to repeat as Sandusky Bay Conference champions, having posted an unblemished 12-0 league record last campaign. Depth remains a strong suit for Perkins, who is led by two-time All-SBC honoree Manickam. He followed up a run to the state tournament his freshman year by posting a 23-7 record and reaching the districts in 2012. Murray and Rohrbacker joined Manickam at districts last year in 1st doubles and 2nd singles, respectively.

St. Mary Panthers

Coach: Phil Meyers

Key returner: Tanner Roth (jr.)

Outlook: As a first year coach, Myers inherits three letterwinners from a team coming off a second place finish in the SBC . On the downside, the Panthers lose Andrew Linden, who qualified for state the last three years . With a strong collective effort Meyers believes his team can challenge for one of the top spots in the league.

West Shore Conference

Avon Eagles

Coach: Art Gibbs

Key returners: Nico Mostardi (fr.), Macklin Robbins (sr.)

Last year’s record: 5-11

Outlook: The Eagles return six starters from a group that finished fourth in the conference last season. Gibbs, however, has the highest hopes for one of the areas up-and-coming players — Mostardi — who will take over first singles in his first year with the team. Robbins will once again play second singles and Gibbs anticipates competition between players vying for spots will elevate play at virtually every other position.

Bay Rockets

Coach: Dave Peters

Key returner: Zach Messina (sr.)

Last year’s record: 5-12

Outlook: Peters will be the first to admit the Rockets lack a state-caliber athlete to dominate first singles. Bay does, however, bring back six letterwinners from a team that finished third in the league last season, including Messina, who was a district qualifier in doubles. Peters said the Rockets will look to adjust their lineup from match to match to give themselves the best chance to pull out wins against top teams in the area.

North Ridgeville Rangers

Coach: Brandon May

Last year’s record: 0-14

Outlook: The Rangers have been unable to find the win column the past two campaigns, posting an 0-13 record in 2011 and an 0-14 record in 2012. They return two players from last season, in which they contended in numerous matches but could not make it over the hump. With so many new players in the fold, North Ridgeville coach Brandon May said the team’s primary goals are staying focused and continuing to improve.

Midview Middies

Coach: Michelle Carey

Key returners: Kevin Grau (sr.), Scott Priddy (sr.), Brad Schmidt (sr.)

Last year’s record: 4-12

Outlook: A senior-laden Middies team needs to be more consistent in order to improve upon last year’s finish, according to coach Michelle Carey. She expects her group will start slow but pick up steam as the season rolls on. Grau is set to anchor Midview in 1st singles while Priddy and Schmidt are slated to play 1st doubles.

Northern Ohio League

Sandusky Blue Streaks

Coach: Bernie Seiler

Key returners: Jacob Riedy (sr.), Jack Stauffer (sr.), David Linden (jr.)

Last year’s record: 7-11

Outlook: Seiler raised concerns about depth at the bottom of the lineup, but with seven returning lettewinners, the Blue Streaks are still one of the more veteran groups in the NOL. Sandusky is led by Riedy and Stauffer, who have made back-to-back trips to the districts and were last year’s sectional champions as a doubles team. Riedy and Stauffer also play first and second singles, respectively, for the Blue Streaks, with Linden rounding out the experienced top three.

Norwalk

Coach: Chris Higgins

Key returners: Trevor Bowers (sr.), Harry Love (sr.)

Last year’s record: 18-1, 10-0

Outlook: The Truckers boast arguably the best one-two punch in the area in Trevor Bowers and Harry Love, the first Team All-NOL honorees in first and second singles, respectively last season. The tandem helped lead Norwalk to its 24th conference title in 29 years. They should be heavily favored to bring home another this season.

Southwestern Conference

Westlake

Coach: Jeffery Mannies

Key returners: Connor Michelich (soph.), Cal Craven (soph.), Kevin Wang (sr.)

Last year’s record: 12-4

Outlook: For the first time in four years the Demons will be without one of the best players ever to come out of the area. Colton Buffington led Westlake to four consecutive SWC titles, reaching the state tournament as many times and capturing the state crown last season. Though Buffington has moved on to the University of Louisville, the Demons remain capable of winning a fifth straight conference championship.

Moving up to first singles is Michelich, who qualified for districts as a freshman. Westlake also brings back a districts-qualifying doubles tandem in Craven and team captain Wang. In total the Demons return seven starters from a team that became the first to sweep the SWC and shared the conference tournament title with Avon Lake.

Avon Lake Shoremen

Coach: Adam Slabodnick

Key returners: Greg Miller, (sr.), Tim Villari (jr.)

Outlook: The Shoremen grabbed their fourth straight LCAA Tournament crown last season and split the SWC title with Westlake. First singles James Darkow has left the team to focus on track and field but Slobadnick is confident that Miller will fill in nicely, giving Avon Lake a chance to be one of the best teams in the area yet again.

Independent

Lake Ridge Royals

Coach: Rich Robbins

Key returners: Caleb Mayer (jr.), Roger Peckham (jr.), Qasim Syed (sr.)

Last year’s record: 14-3

Outlook: Coming off a quality season that included a second place finish at the LCAAA tournament, the Royals should again be one of the toughest teams in the area. Lake Ridge returns Caleb Mayer and Roger Peckham in first and second singles, respectively, both of whom placed second at the LCAAA and qualified for districts. The Royals will have holes to fill, however. The team lost doubles standout Anthony Milluzzi to graduation and third singles LCAAA winner Jonas Jung has finished his time as an exchange student and returned to his native Germany.



@NatePentecost

Last Updated: 4/2/2013 11:12:31 PM EST

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