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Enjoyment of game focus for Coventry boys tennis season

5/22/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

COVENTRY — Coventry High School boys tennis head coach Aaron Rose said the primary goal of this year’s team was “just to go out and have a good time and enjoy the game.”

“They came out to have a good time and play a sport where they can also socialize and hang out,” he said. “For a lot of them, when they started their freshman year, it was just a group of kids at a lunch table. They decided to go out to play tennis and some of them stuck it out all four years.”

The team finished the season with an overall record of 1-13.

“I knew we were going to struggle and, honestly, it’s pretty hard not having facilities,” he said. “Most of my kids don’t pick up a racquet until tennis season, and most of them didn’t have any lessons or playing experience when we started with them. They had a slow start at the beginning of the season and it didn’t help with the bad winter we had. A lot of the kids have jobs and with the way the season went with all of the rainouts, and the matches getting moved, they had already set their work schedule. It just made it tough.”

Rose called this year’s team “senior heavy,” but noted that some of the 12th-graders were first-year players.

“They were playing for the first time,” he said. “Some of them were just looking to have some fun and learn a sport that they can play the rest of their life.”

Leading the way for this year’s team, Rose said, was the first doubles team of seniors Jacob Magnani and Slavisa Tosanovic.

“In one or two nonleague matches I had them play singles, but they played first doubles pretty much all year and they had a decent year,” the coach said. “During the regular season, they finished tied for fourth in first doubles in the league. They had six wins on the season in first doubles. They finished sixth at the PTC [Portage Trail Conference] tournament.”

Coventry’s second doubles team primarily consisted of seniors Cody Stewart and Jackson Karakis.

“They had a couple of wins for the year,” Rose said.

However, during the sectional tournament, the second doubles team featured Karakis and freshman Ben Woodill.

“They made it to the third round of the sectional tournament,” the coach said.

According to Rose, Woodill showed plenty of improvement this season.

“He had one practice and then came to our first match, so he didn’t know much about the game and could barely hit the ball over the net,” the coach said. “By the end of the season, he was hitting the ball back and forth with some consistency. I think he has a bright future if he sticks with it.”

Rose said the team’s other freshman, Nick Hoover, is a “work in progress.”

“He didn’t get to play a whole lot — he was a [junior varsity] player for the most part — but he got in a few varsity matches,” the coach said. “He should develop and be a nice role player for us.”

Sophomore Richie Wiedlich was one of the team’s most improved players this season, Rose said.

“He started off the season late because he got injured playing indoor soccer, but he came right back in and played in some doubles matches and played in some singles matches,” the coach stated. “He won a first singles match against Barberton to help secure our one and only victory. He just kept getting more consistent with his forehand and backhand. We just need to work on his serving next year.”

In addition, Rose said, the team also received contributions from senior Alexa Norton.

“We had a girl on the boys tennis team, and I give her credit,” he said. “We went down to sectionals and she won a singles match.”

Other key players this year, Rose said, included senior Logan Lenkowski, senior Josh Leiter and junior Dakota Cobb.

“Logan’s a good kid and he just likes to play the game,” Rose said. “Josh was a first-year senior and probably the nicest kid I’ve ever had in class and as a coach. He enjoyed it and had fun. And Dakota, if he wants to be, will probably be my first singles player next year.”

Four players from this year’s team are due back next season and Rose said he plans to “do some heavy recruiting” heading into next season.

“I also coach soccer and I’m going to try to get a bunch of my athletes to come out for the team,” he said. “In the past, when I’ve had a good tennis team, I got a bunch of soccer players to start their freshman year and to stick it out for four years.”

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