Southmoreland tennis primed for more success
The past two seasons have been highly successful ones for the Southmoreland boys tennis team.
The Scotties tied Mt. Pleasant for the Section 1-AA championship in 2011, then followed up by earning a share of the section crown with Greensburg Salem last year.
This year, the Scotties again appear primed for a big season with a majority of their starting lineup returning.
“We have a lot of guys coming back,” coach Jim Kessler said. “We only lost two seniors.”
The only starter lost to graduation was John Monroe, who played No. 2 doubles last year.
“We've got most of our starting lineup back,” Kessler said. “We've won the section the last two years, and I think we are stronger than last year.”
Much of Kessler's optimism is due to the fact that seniors Tyler Fox and Kevin Bundridge are returning at the top of the lineup.
Fox and Bundridge are No. 1 singles-caliber players and they will make up the top two spots in the lineup.
“We have probably one of the strongest one-two punches in the section,” Kessler said.
Falling in behind Fox and Bundridge will be juniors Davis Simon and Luke Zeleznik as well as sophomore Henry Riley.
Those three will compete for the No. 3 singles spot, with the remaining two likely comprising the No. 1 doubles tandem.
Juniors Adam Snyder and Adam Hernley and sophomore Isaac Proch are in the running to complete the starting lineup at No. 2 doubles.
Although Southmoreland has lost in the first round of the playoffs in each of the past two seasons, the Scotties have a regular-season record of 25-3 during the span.
“It's going to be hard to top the last two seasons, but we want to try to improve on it,” Kessler said.
Kessler noted one thing that has made the team successful is the team's dedication.
He pointed out that when high school practice is over, many of the players will go to Loucks Park in Scottdale and continue to play and practice on their own.
“This is fun for me because they love it,” Kessler said.
Southmoreland plays its Section 1-AA opener Monday at California.
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.