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'Very green' Mt. Pleasant boys tennis team looks to improve

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Kelly Vernon | The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Noah Chovanec aims for the ball Tuesday, April 2, 2013 in the home match against McGuffey.

Mt. Pleasant will host Southmoreland in a Section 1-AA match on Tuesday.

Top high school sports
Monday, March 17, 2014, 10:18 p.m.

After not qualifying for the WPIAL playoffs last season, the Mt. Pleasant boys tennis team will be looking for a bounce-back season in 2014. However, not many things are certain when it comes to this year's team.

“We are very green,” Mt. Pleasant coach Tony Splendore said. “It's early in the season, and we've had limited practices outside. We're trying to be consistent with our serves, and in our first scrimmage, we saw a lot of good play.”

The Vikings followed a strong scrimmage with a season-opening Section 1-AA victory over Brownsville on Friday. It's a good start for a team with some question marks.

“I think that, so far, when we have gotten outside, they've worked hard,” Splendore said. “I like their enthusiasm, and I think that will carry over into the matches.”

Gone from last year's team are starters Ryan Dombrosky, Brandon Harclerode and Hunter Rinaldi.

Seniors Noah Chovanec, Jacob Trout and Jeremy Simms as well as junior Alex Temple bring some experience to this year's team.

“We do have four returning lettermen,” Splendore said.

Temple and sophomore Noah Cenkner likely will fill the top two singles positions. Trout played at third singles last season and is expected to fill that role again in 2014.

Noah Chovanec will play at first doubles and, on many occasions, will be paired with sophomore Jacob Chovanec, who also could slide up and see action in singles play. Simms and fellow senior Stephen Vidacovich likely will form the second doubles pairing.

Senior Michael Rosky, juniors Ty Edmunds, Joel Scekeres and Tristan Kobistek, and sophomore Josh Simms also could make contributions.

“I think we can have a very strong team, and I think that when we have everybody here, we can have a nice nucleus and challenge anybody in our section,” Splendore said.

Splendore acknowledged that there will be a bit of a learning curve early in the season as the team starts to gain its form.

“We have a lot of players that haven't been tested yet,” Splendore said. “It will be tough early in the season, and when you have unproven players, you have to go slowly.”

Still, Splendore has little doubt the team will make positive strides.

“We will definitely get better as the season goes along,” Splendore said. “We have players that are showing signs of being good players.”

Mt. Pleasant missed the postseason by one game in 2013, so qualifying for the playoffs is a goal for.

“We still want to make the playoffs, and we want to keep our goals obtainable and realistic,” Splendore said.

The Vikings host Southmoreland in a Section 1-AA match Tuesday.

Mt. Pleasant's opponents in Section 1-AA include Brownsville, California, Greensburg Central Catholic, McGuffey, Southmoreland and Washington.

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