by Tom Utescher
Fourth-year Germantown Friends tennis coach Kim McMenamin isn’t finding it easy to sort out her line-up for the 2015 season, but it’s the kind of problem she doesn’t having.
“It’s because we have good depth; we have five players this year who are legitimate contenders for the [three] singles positions,” notes the Tigers’ mentor, who coaches the boys’ team in the spring and the GFS girls’ squad in the fall.
The Tigers have their chief singles players back from 2014; the three seniors who graduated last spring all appeared in the doubles flights.
The senior co-captains of the 2015 squad are Matt Peterson and Evan Zaret. Peterson is returning as Germantown’s number one singles player, while Zaret played mostly at third singles last year, with some occasional doubles matches.
Si Affron, a junior who was a consistent singles performer last season, is back in the mix. In addition, there are two freshmen who should be vying for singles spots, Peterson’s brother Tim, and Zak Schneider.
“There’s really not too much separating Matt Peterson from Zak Schneider, so we’ll have healthy competition within the team, and having that many strong players obviously will help us against other teams,” McMenamin observed.
Seniors Aaron Yang and Jesse Overholser are seasoned doubles players, and the other two 12th graders on the roster, Owen Burns and Grant Kelly, played doubles together most of the time during the 2014 campaign.
It’s the fifth year that the seniors have been under McMenamin’s tutelage. The year before she became varsity coach, she worked with them as eighth-graders when she piloted the middle school team.
In non-league contests where there are more doubles matches than in Friends School League bouts, the Tigers will draw on players such as sophomore Piyush Pillarisetti and freshman Aaron Loder.
Within the league, Friends Central remains the elephant in the room. Usually stocked with tournament players, the Phoenix have won the last six FSL titles.
“Shipley has a good amount of returning players, so they’ll be a challenge, as well,” McMenamin reported.
She has also heard that there are some new arrivals at the George School, which accepts boarding students as well as day pupils.
For many teams, things have been looking up, except when you look up. GFS, like all tennis outfits in the area, has seen outdoor court time limited due to the cold wet weather that extended from March into early April.
“Indoor court time is very hard to come by, so when we had to be indoors we worked on things like speed, agility, and footwork,” McMenamin explained. “Now that we’ve finally been getting outside, we’ve been scrambling to balance out practice time with getting in our ladder matches. The weather has complicated things, for sure.”