PHS Boys’ Tennis Places 6th at MCT As Parker Twins Shine at 2nd Doubles
TWIN TERRORS: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Ethan Parker hits a serve as his twin brother Dylan guards the net in a match last week at the Mercer County Tournament. The Parker boys took second at second doubles at the MCT, helping PHS place sixth of 17 schools in the team standings of the event won by WW/P-South. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
One of the major challenges facing a high school tennis coach on an annual basis is figuring out the right combinations for the two doubles teams in the lineup.
This spring that task was a little easier for Princeton High boys’ tennis coach Sarah Hibbert as a pair of sophomore twins, Dylan and Ethan Parker, emerged as the team’s second doubles pair.
“Their communication is good, they get along well,” said Hibbert, noting that the twins bring extra athleticism as they both play for the PHS boys’ soccer team.
“They are willing to fight for points, they are definitely a strong pairing for us.”
Last week at the Mercer County Tournament, the Parker boys turned in a strong performance, placing second at second doubles, falling 6-1, 6-0 in the final to David Liu and Naman Sarda of WW/P-South
Dylan, for his part, was excited by the twin’s run to the championship match, which helped PHS place sixth of 17 schools in the team standings of the event won by WW/P-South.
“We were happy with how we played for the most part in this tournament,” said Parker.
“I am really happy that we made it to the final; I just shows that if you work hard, you can make it there.”
Parker saw that work paying off as the MCT unfolded.
“We have made a lot of progress; I feel like my shots are a lot better and my serve has improved,” added Parker.
The bond between the twins helped them excel last week. “We have a lot of communication; it is mainly good,” said Parker.
“We try to stay positive on the court. We talk to each other a lot on the courts and we stay on top of each other.”
Ethan, for his part, worked on staying cool as the pair went through the draw.
“It helped me maintain my composure more because against even weaker teams, it would be harder to stay at a good level,” said Parker. “I think I tuned it out a lot better.”
Parker was certainly in tune with his brother. “Playing with my brother is a lot of fun. Sometimes we can get frustrated with each other, but this is being brothers,” said Parker.
“We can understand when one of us is feeling a little frustrated or a little down and that is when we talk to each there and try to bring each other up.”
The fact that Ethan is a righty and Dylan is a lefty helps the Parkers cover the court.
“I feel like it complements pretty well; our games are pretty comparable,” added Parker.
“I would say my brother is better at the net and I am a little better hitting groundstrokes.”
Hibbert, for her part, pointed the Parkers’ three-set win over WW/P-North in the semis as a highlight of the tournament for PHS.
“They had a great win over North; I was hopeful when they lost the second set that they would be able rally from it,” said Hibbert, referring to their 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 victory over Sarvesh Gadre and Lucky Koritela
“I was worried that could deflate them. I was really proud that they rallied and came out and play a really nice third set. This is their first showing in the county tournament and a second place finish is a great way to start.”
In Hibbert’s view, the team’s experience at the MCT will help the Tigers going forward.
“Any time you get the better competition, you get to see the level we need to get to,” said Hibbert.
“We are hopeful that we will be able to keep building on what we have got. All of the people moved into new positions this year. There is a slight adjustment period. We have had some nice wins, we have had some close matches that we pulled out. I am proud of how they all worked here. Hopefully we will have a good showing in the states and take it from there.”
Ethan Parker, for his part, believes that he and his brother have just scratched the surface of what they can do.
“We just need to work on the weaker part of our games like our second serves, they always need a little more work, and just making sure that we are hitting it back,” said Parker. “I am really excited to see what is going to happen in the future.”