Coach impressed with fight and improvement in tennis team
Last year, the Plum varsity boys tennis team finished Section 3-AAA play with a 2-10 record.
The Mustangs beat Penn Hills two times, but they fell victim to rivals Gateway and Woodland Hills twice.
All but one from the 2012 seven-player lineup returned, and they wanted to change those outcomes.
Plum put together what they were looking for in matches against Gateway last Thursday and against Woodland Hills on Monday.
The 3-2 wins against the Gators and Wolverines — coupled with two wins over McKeesport and a victory over Penn Hills — put the Mustangs at 5-3 heading into a challenging doubleheader against section power Shady Side Academy on Wednesday.
“I know they get discouraged with the matches against Fox Chapel, Shady Side Academy and Pittsburgh Central Catholic,” Plum head coach Lori Senkewitz said.
“Those three teams are very hard to beat and will be the three from the section in the playoffs again this year. But Gateway and Woodland Hills are our closest rivals and the ones we match up well with the most. These are the sweetest wins. Their excitement and confidence keeps growing with wins like these.”
Monday's win over Woodland Hills comes on the heels of a 5-0 loss to the Wolverines on Friday.
Senior Mike Hoysan (No. 2 singles) and sophomore Jason Kuhn (No. 3 singles) avenged Friday losses with straight-set victories on Monday.
“Jason had it in his mind when he left the court on Friday that he was ready for the rematch on Monday,” Senkewitz said.
“Mike was pretty much the same way. I told Mike that he needed to work on his serve, and that was a big factor in his win.”
Through Monday's match, Kuhn led the team with a 5-3 record, while Hoysan improved to 4-4.
Sophomore Carson France (No. 1 singles) suffered a tough two-set loss to Woodland Hills veteran Jordan Potter.
“Potter is very consistent with a big serve,” Senkewitz said.
“He is able to move his opponent from side to side very well and take them out of their game. It was a tough loss for Carson, but his all-around game has improved tenfold this season. He is a lot smarter, and he is thinking through his shots more. He has a more array of shots, and his serve has improved.”
Seniors Jason Berkavich and Tom Rudzinski lost on Monday at No. 1 doubles, while the No. 2 doubles duo of sophomore Dan Madrid and Grant Burgman were victorious.
Senkewitz said Madrid got a late start to tennis this spring because of his involvement in the Plum junior varsity ice hockey team's run to a tournament runner-up finish in the PIHL playoffs.
Madrid also teamed up with sophomore Dylan Matta for a doubleheader against McKeesport on April 5, and the team won both matches against the Tigers.
Plum hosts Fox Chapel on Thursday and Gateway on Friday. Both matches are set for 3:30 p.m. starts.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at email@example.com.