2012 Spring Preview: Returning players has Park tennis team poised to competeThe Park boys tennis team hopes to transform last year’s young, inexperienced team and 4-12 record, into a fighting force with enough depth to take on the tough teams of the Suburban East Conference this season.
By: Teresa Townsend, South Washington County Bulletin
The Park boys tennis team hopes to transform last year’s young, inexperienced team and 4-12 record, into a fighting force with enough depth to take on the tough teams of the Suburban East Conference this season.
“We only lost two players out of the starting line-up,” said head coach Tony Townsend, “We have 10 players with varsity experience. We have a lot of depth.”
Returning All-Conference player, freshman Mekdim Dejene, and returning junior Jake Elliott will anchor the team with internal competition. Townsend is excited to see Elliott play his first season of varsity for Park; last year he attended an affiliate high school and therefore was not allowed to support his high school team.
Townsend believes that leadership from returning players will help the team translate practice into match play.
“We changed the attitude,” he said. “They figured out how to practice with more intensity . . . eight out of ten have put in a lot of work in the off-season.”
While much of the Suburban East Conference scrambles to make up for graduating seniors, Townsend is ready for his team to give a strong performance and reverse last year’s 1-7 conference record.
“I wanna’ knock-off East Ridge and Woodbury this year,” he said. “Every kid in [Woodbury’s] starting position was a senior.”
Townsend thinks his team will play competitively with conference opponents Hastings and Stillwater, and last year’s win against White Bear makes him confident that the team can find another victory this season. The possibility of being able to defeat Woodbury and East Ridge means that Park could put together five conference wins this season, which would be a first for the program.
Two upcoming scrimmages and the Wolfpack’s first official game of the season (at Farmington on Wednesday, April 11 at 4:15 p.m.) will test the team’s new-found confidence before they play conference opponent East Ridge at home on Thursday, April 12, at 3:30 p.m.