Rosemont >> While the Main Line high school spring sports season may proceed more like a sprint than a marathon, don’t tell that to the Harriton boys’ tennis team – especially seniors Etan Ginsberg and Isaac Goldenberg.
With Harriton narrowly missing out on a district playoff berth the past two seasons, Ginsberg and Goldenberg would like nothing more than to lead this team on a journey of a lifetime with its destination point being a postseason berth.
“It would mean a lot to make districts,” Goldenberg said following Harriton’s hard-fought 4-3 loss to Conestoga on March 23. “We have a close knit group that has plenty of desire to do well. We just missed out the past couple of years and I believe that has made us stronger and hungrier this season.”
Ginsberg added, “If we play well and lead by example I believe the younger players will follow our lead and continue to play hard all season.”
With a young team comes excitement accompanied by challenges for both players and coaches. For the players, the tests may seem clear but the coaches are tasked with setting a solid line-up that includes forming doubles teams that will be built for success.
“It’s always a difficult task when forming doubles combinations,” said Rhodes. “You want to take different factors into account but at the end of the day you want to make sure their games are compatible and they work well together.”
With the singles line-up pretty much established with junior Samarth Gowda sandwiched at No. 2 between Goldenberg at No. 1 and Ginsberg at No. 3 the fun for the coaching staff is at doubles where juniors Bruce Sacchetta and Brad Koziol return as the only doubles team in tact from last year.
Having to form new combinations this year, Rhodes decided to pair junior Andrew Kofsky and freshman Mathieu Benoit-Cattin, freshmen Jay Ramaswamy and Max Ostrem, before rounding out his line-up with the brother combination of senior Karl Rickels and freshman Peter Rickels.
With many new faces on the active roster, Goldenberg and Ginsberg have certainly bonded to provide much needed senior leadership for a team hopeful for a post-season run.
“Coach has told us the most important thing is to play you best but most important have fun,” said Goldenberg. “If you go out thinking you have to win every point then you will be stressed out. If you relax you will inevitably produce better results.”
Ginsberg added, “We have a young team that is hungry and has the grit to succeed. As seniors, Isaac and I have endured some tough losses in previous years and I believe we have learned from those matches. We have a close knit group and we just try to remind everyone to have fun.”
Opening the season with wins over Marple Newtown and Lower Moreland with a tough road loss at Conestoga sandwiched in between, head coach Jeff Rhodes is excited to see what the rest of the season will bring.
“I am looking forward to see what happens this spring,” Rhodes said. “We narrowly missed the district playoffs the past two years and it seems like we have a group with good senior leadership who is eager to learn and do well.”