Putting Emphasis on Daily Improvement, PDS Boys’ Tennis Gearing Up for MCT
DECK HAND: Princeton Day School boys’ tennis player Lex Decker hits a backhand in a match last spring. Sophomore Decker is playing second singles this season for PDS and has helped the Panthers get off to a 3-2 start in dual match play. PDS hosts Hill School (Pa.) on April 20 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament on April 25 at Mercer County Park. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
Ultimately, the Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team would like to culminate 2016 by making history as it is going for a fourth straight state Prep B championship.
But PDS head coach Will Asch knows that his squad has a long way to go before it can think about titles.
“We have got a lot of improving to do before we are ready to win a tournament like that, so do the other teams as well,” said Asch.
“Everybody improves. If they are not improving over the course of the season, they are probably not going to be on top at the end of the year.”
Senior Scott Altmeyer figures to make an impact at the top of the PDS lineup at first singles.
“He is very good,” said Asch of Altmeyer. “He moves very well and he is an excellent competitor. He is very consistent.”
At second singles, sophomore Lex Decker is growing into an excellent player.
“Lex is a lot stronger; he serves better and he runs better,” added Asch. “Basically he has matured physically and it shows in his game.”
Asch is looking for sophomore Riley Gudgel to mature quickly in the third single spot.
“He is a good competitor, he sort of filled in for us at third singles last year,” said Asch.
“He is a good player. He is adjusting the pressure of having that position and having to come up with the wins.”
At first doubles, the pair of sophomore Vivek Sharma and junior Jacob Chang figures to come up with a lot of wins.
“Vivek played first doubles for us last year and is our strongest doubles player,” said Asch.
“Jacob prefers to play singles but he played second doubles for us last year and he is a solid player. He is learning the doubles game, he is more of a singles player but he is working on it and he really enjoys the game.”
Asch believes that juniors Leo Nye and Noah Liao can grow into a strong team at second doubles.
“They were playing JV for a while and they played together last year and they started the year wanting to play together,” said Asch.
“They have done a good job, they are very supportive of each other and they understand their strengths and weaknesses. I am hoping to help them develop into a very good team. They have a lot of strengths. I think it is good that they are a little more experienced as juniors, they have played more matches. They could be a lot better and they are going to be a lot better.”
With PDS hosting Hill School (Pa.) on April 20 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament on April 25 at Mercer County Park, Asch is looking for his players to keep getting better collectively.
“I think we are a good team,” said Asch, whose squad fell 5-0 to county favorite WW/P-S last week and is 3-2 in dual match play this spring. “I don’t think we are ready to win the county tournament.”
Even if PDS doesn’t win any crowns in 2016, Asch believes his players will enjoy a memorable spring.
“We have a very nice group of kids who work hard and they want to learn,” said Asch.
“We have a good time and everybody learns a lot about how to play tennis so in that sense we have a lot of success whether or not we win the county or the Prep B. We have kids that enjoy playing tennis and go on to play in college, whether they are playing varsity tennis, JV, or club tennis.”