by Tom Utescher
Mount St. Joseph Academy’s 2012 tennis team will have a tough act to follow. Last fall, the Magic finished up as the champions in the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies, and posted an overall record of 13-1.
As coach Ron Mutchnik embarks on his eighth season at the helm, Mount St. Joe looks to be ready for action in the singles area, with the only graduation loss coming on the last of the three rungs on the ladder. Pairs play is more of a work in progress; among the Magic’s 2012 graduates were three of the four members of the first and second doubles teams, both of which went undefeated for two years in a row.
Back at number one singles is sophomore Morgan Weiss, who was out of action with a minor injury during the Mount’s lone loss last fall. Second singles stalwart Mary Gorman, now a senior, also returns.
Gorman’s classmate Jessica Bonet had been the MSJ number one back in the 2010 campaign, but she suffered a season-ending injury last year, and unfortunately she won’t be able to come back for a senior season, either.
Nevertheless, Coach Mutchnik has been pleased with the way that sophomore Betsy Napolitano has stepped up to claim the third singles spot.
Senior Allison Murray is the returning member of the former first doubles combo, and this year she’ll be joined by classmate Morgan Devine. They’re also serving as team captains this season along with a third senior, Sarina Carr. Carr will appear at second doubles alongside sophomore Emily Christine. Another tenth-grader, Belin Mirabile, had also been in the mix for second doubles, but she’s recuperating from a pre-season injury.
Mount St. Joe plays in a three-singles, two-doubles configuration within the AACA, but the Magic usually line up some non-league bouts against schools that employ a four/three or four/four format, giving other players a chance to see some varsity action.
After the top seven, there are a number of players of roughly equal ability, according to Mutchnik, who will be watching to observe who emerges from the pack.
The junior reinforcements are Máiread Glowacki, Krista Goebel, and Katie Moses, and the legion of sophomores includes Colleen Burns, Katie Meister, Serena Romanelli, and Nicolette Sommar.
The Magic will kick off the 2012 campaign with a tri-scrimmage involving Wissahickon High School and Germantown Academy, and another practice bout against Springfield High.