Barnegat Leader Spring Sports Previews

Larger Turnout Bodes Well for Barnegat Boys Tennis

Apr 19, 2019

There is a bright spot for the 2019 Barnegat High School boys tennis team, a program that hasn’t had many for the past few years.

“The significant change for the team this year is numbers,” said third-year head coach Karla Jennings. “We have enough players to field a JV team. We believe that this will help us build a more competitive program.”

Don’t expect immediate results. The team didn’t win a match in 2017 or 2018 and has opened its 2019 campaign with six straight losses. But coaches of all high school sports will tell you turnout is a key to developing a good program.

Jennings’ team this year is headed by its first singles entry, senior Zach Zentz, who has started every match so far. After that it gets a little more complicated, as Jennings has juggled her lineup looking to find pieces that will complete the program puzzle.

A freshman, Joe Spagnola, began the season at second singles while a senior, Billy Powers, filled the third singles slot. That changed after Barnegat’s third match, against Lakewood.

Powers scored the team’s first win, defeating Lakewood’s Mardo Rojas, 6-3, 6-4. That win resulted in bumping Powers up to second singles.

Indeed, in the team’s next match, against Donovan Catholic, Jennings tried another new piece at third singles, freshman Shane Miller. Spagnola has since returned to that position.

The situation at doubles has been more settled. Senior Noah Stickel and sophomore Robert Wallace have formed the team’s first doubles duo the entire season. Sophomore Robert Kociban and freshman Richard Lynch have started most of the team’s matches at second doubles, although freshman Shane Miller played with Kociban in the team’s last match before this was being written.

—Rick Mellerup

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