Vol. LXIII, No. 18
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)caption:
IN HIS SEITZ: Hun School boys tennis freshman star Chris Seitz shows off his backhand form. Last week, Seitz made quite a splash in his debut at the Mercer County Tournament, advancing to the championship match at first singles where he narrowly lost 7-6, 7-6 to top-seeded Neil Karandikar of Princeton Day School. Seitzs heroics helped Hun finish seventh in the team standings of the 17-school competition won by WW/P-N.
Not too many people were paying attention to the Hun School boys tennis team as it started play last week in the Mercer County Tournament (MCT).
With first singles star Lance Goulbourne having graduated and gone on to play basketball at Vanderbilt and a new coach, Todd Loffredo, at the helm, Hun was an unknown quantity.
By the end of the tourney, though, Hun freshman star Chris Seitz turned plenty of heads around Mercer County Park with an unlikely run to the first singles championship match.
Seeded sixth coming into the MCT, Seitz topped No. 3 (Demetri Vrahnos of WW/P-S) and No. 2 (Kevin Cen of Princeton High) on the way to a title matchup against top-seeded Neil Karandikar of Princeton Day School.
With Karandikar having won the MCT title at second singles the last two years and having breezed to the first singles finals losing only three games in six sets, things looked bleak for Seitz.
Rising to the occasion, the unheralded Seitz displayed his solid ground strokes and poise as he battled Karandikar hard.
Although Karandikar ended up pulling out a 7-6, 7-6 win, Seitzs performance certainly impressed new coach Loffredo.
I definitely think he caught people by surprise, said Loffredo, whose squad finished seventh in the team standings in the competition won by WW/P-N.
I think everybody likes to see an underdog win; there was no pressure on him. It came down to how consistent he was with his ground strokes and his serve. He is just very consistent.
Loffredo sees a bright future for Seitz. Even though we were each a little disappointed with the loss, he is only a freshman and hopefully next year he will be seeded higher, added Loffredo. Now he is among the best in the county.
Huns second doubles team of Antek Piasecki and Richard Mather showed that they could play with the best in the county as they advanced to the semifinals.
That was definitely excellent, said Loffredo referring to his second doubles pair.
It took us a while to get our doubles teams set. Now that they are, I think they are starting to play together better. I was so proud that they beat the No. 1 seed (Aidan Milner and Holden Warriner of Princeton High) on Monday. They lost in a very close match in the semis. When they are on, they are really good. Its nice to see them playing well together.
In Loffredos view, his team was on collectively as it competed well at the MCT.
I think it has been hard over the last month trying to get two practices in a row with rain and matches, said Loffredo, whose team hosts Blair on May 7 before competing in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) championships on May 9.
I think we showed that we can play with some of these teams. I couldnt be more proud of them and how they played at this tournament. I think every one of them played great, even those who lost early made progress. Everyone found their stride.
Loffredo, who hasnt coached at the high school level before this year, is finding his stride in his new role.
It is a good experience; it takes a lot of patience to be a coach, said Loffredo. I wasnt expecting that but it is fun. We have a good group of kids.
A group of kids who made their presence felt last week at the MCT.
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