Vol. LXV, No. 21
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)caption:
SECOND ACT: Princeton High boys tennis star Eddie Percarpio prepares to hit a forehand last week in his 6-4, 6-3 win over Charlie Yang of Colts Neck at second singles in the Central Jersey Group III sectional quarterfinals. Percarpios victory helped fourth-seeded PHS top No. 5 Colts Neck 3-2 in the match. PHS went on to fall 5-0 to top-seeded Holmdel last Thursday in the sectional semifinals. The Little Tigers, who moved to 12-2 with that defeat, host Hopewell Valley on May 26 in a regular season match.
It only took two sets but Eddie Percarpio had to dig deep to win his match at second singles for the Princeton High boys tennis team in its state tourney opener last week.
It was quite a tough fight; I am so tired, said Percarpio, whose 6-4, 6-3 win over Charlie Yang helped fourth-seeded PHS top No. 5 Colts Neck 3-2 in the Central Jersey Group III sectional quarterfinals.
He played really well; he had a really good forehand. I was trying to keep away from that. I kept it deep and kept it consistent. I hit some penetrating shots. I guess that is what got it.
The junior Percarpio believes he has gotten a lot better over the last year.
Now my shots are a lot harder but they still keep that same consistency, explained Percarpio.
Instead of just hitting it in a lot, I am getting it deeper and I can hit winners now. My serve has became a really nice weapon for me now.
Percarpio and the Little Tigers, though, had a hard day last Thursday as they fell 5-0 to top-seeded Holmdel in the sectional semifinals.
While that loss stung, Percarpio is happy with how PHS has played this spring in producing a 12-2 record.
I am really excited for the team; we are doing really well, said Percarpio. I dont think we have done this well in a long time.
For Percarpio, doing well on the first day of the Mercer County Tournament in late April but then squandering a lead in the semis has helped him become a more dependable player for the Little Tigers.
The first day was great, said Percarpio, reflecting on the opening rounds of the MCT which saw him pull off an upset of Robbinsvilles Sammer Bekhiet on the way to the semifinals.
In my semifinal, I won the first set super easily and I was up 3-0 in the second set and I lost. I learned a lesson; I learned to keep fighting. No matter how much you are winning, you have to keep up the same effort.
PHS head coach Sarah Hibbert likes the effort she has been getting from Percarpio this spring.
Eddie has been playing very well for us lately; he did have that tough loss to Sammer which he was able to reverse in the county tournament, said Hibbert.
I think it really helped him with his mentality moving forward. We have really been able to count on him this season to keep his head in tough matches and come through when the team needs him.
The PHS first doubles team of Jesse Chai and Akash Khanolkar has also been coming through for the Little Tigers this spring.
Our first doubles team has been working together well; they complement each others styles, said Hibbert of her top duo, which posted a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) win in the Colts Neck match.
With doubles, there are always up and down days. They have been able to hold it together.
Junior Julian Edgren has held things together at third singles. Julian was able to tough out the big points and close it out, said Hibbert of Edgren, who prevailed 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) against Kyle Spaulding of Colts Neck.
It went into a tiebreak and he was down a point or two at the beginning of the tiebreak and he was able to hold on to that for us and finish the match. He has won a few matches for us in tiebreakers lately and that has really been nice to be able to feel like you can count on the middle of our lineup.
PHS has been able to count on some good play from Robert Zhao at first singles.
Robert played a lot better than the score indicates, added Hibbert of Zhaos 6-0, 6-2 loss against Dillon Sullivan of Colts Neck.
They had a lot of deuce games; he was very close to him but his opponent was a very good player. Its nice to know that you have someone who can handle the pressure up there. You know the top is always going to have a battle because if they have one good player, hes going to be up there.
With six of PHSs top seven players returning, it looks like the Little Tigers will again be one of the top teams in the area.
Any time you only graduate one player (Chai) in the your lineup and, particularly out of the doubles lineup, I think there is potential for things next year too, said Hibbert, whose team hosts Hopewell Valley on May 26 in a regular season match.
Also with our top four singles players being so close it is just going to push them to get better, because they know if they really want to earn their spot, someone is nipping at their heels. In past years, when someone has been way better than another, there is no incentive to get better because no one is going to touch them. With these guy, they have to work to earn their spots because there is a very similar level.
Percarpio, for his part, sees a bright future for the Little Tigers. Next year, we are going to be better because only one person is graduating and we still have the same three singles, asserted Percarpio.
We are all good friends, we all motivate each other and that really helps the team.
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