PHS netters expect to compete for EWC title

Panthers return four starters for new coach Salibi
by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

LUKE HOJNACKI, junior, hits a backhand shot during Plymouth’s tennis practice Thursday afternoon. Hojnacki is one of six returning letter winners for the Panthers. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley LUKE HOJNACKI, junior, hits a backhand shot during Plymouth’s tennis practice Thursday afternoon. Hojnacki is one of six returning letter winners for the Panthers. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH – Chuck Salibi, the Plymouth Panthers’ new boys head tennis coach, is very optimistic about the 2013 season.

The Panthers return six letter winners, including four starters, from last year’s squad which finished 8-1 in Eastern Wisconsin Conference dual play and 11-4 overall. PHS finished third in the EWC overall standings and tied for fourth in Division 2 subsectional play.

“I expect my squad to be at the top of our conference. Of course, Manitowoc Roncalli, Two Rivers and Kohler will not just hand it to us and I am expecting these to be our toughest competition this year,” said Salibi.

Roncalli is the three-time defending EWC champion and Two Rivers captured second last year by only one point over PHS.

The returning starters are senior Nick Eggert and juniors Steven Blend, Ben Bachmann and Cooper Ebbott. Blend was a member of last year’s No. 1 doubles team which qualified for the sectional and earned All-EWC secondteam honors. The other member was Ian Jasso who graduated. The duo finished 7-1 in league play.

Eggert and Bachmann were named to the all-league second team at No. 2 doubles after posting a 7-1 record in EWC action. Ebbott chalked up a 7-2 conference mark en route to earning All- EWC second-team honors at No. 2 singles.

The other letter winners are juniors Austin Wiese and Luke Hojnacki.

“We see this season as an opportunity to strengthen our athletes’ conditioning and match play situations to increase our success as a team,” Salibi said.

“We have a few of our players who are year-round players who take regular lessons at nearby indoor facilities. These players are motivated and skilled and will add to the team dynamic.”

Salibi, a former assistant boys tennis coach at PHS, pointed out the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

“We have a large team [34-player roster] with increasing depth and several serious, year-round players. Our coaches have strong tennis backgrounds and wish to see our team advance to the next level,” he said, referring to the strengths.

Salibi was the assistant under Jerry Brinkman from 1991-97 and for Greg Gritt last season in the Panther program. Salibi’s assistant this season is Jeffrey Bachmann.

“I think we will have more depth this year and our top players seem to be preparing themselves in mental toughness as well as their skills,” said the head coach.

“The weaknesses are getting back into tennis after months of not playing for most of our team and overcoming the lack of outdoor facilities this year – this is typical of most rural schools in our area,” said Salibi.

He mentioned two players who have impressed him in preseason among the newcomers.

“We have two new freshmen which I expect to see contribute to our varsity – Matt Primosic and Gabe Binversie. However, I am seeing some other freshmen that show a lot of promise as well,” said Salibi.

He thinks there are several players on the varsity and junior varsity squad who can lead the program in a positive direction this year.

Salibi pointed out the keys to having a successful season:

“Discipline, conditioning, improving skills and tactics, developing a sense of team responsibility and of course to enjoy the game of tennis.”

Salibi mentioned his top goals for this season:

“To finish the season with all my players sensing they were part of something great and that they are better for it.

“Of course, we would like to win conference and send at least several players to Madison [for the individual state meet] in June. Longer- term goals would to be to develop the team to go to the state team championship.”

April 6 – @ Oshkosh North Invite
April 9 – @ Slinger
April 11 – @ West Bend West
April 13 – @ Kaukauna Invite
April 16 – Kewaunee, here
April 18 – @ Chilton
April 23 – @ Kewaskum
April 25 – West Bend East, here
April 27 – @ Beaver Dam Tourney
May 2 – Sheboygan Falls, here
May 7 – @ Howards Grove
May 9 – Waupun, here
May 11 – at Sheboygan North Invite
May 14 – @ Two Rivers
May 17 – Kohler, Roncalli & Pacelli,
@ Kohler
May 18 – Kohler, Roncalli & Pacelli,
@ Kohler
May 21 – Subsectional, @ Kohler


Seniors - *Nick Eggert, Inigo Acedo, Charlie Klimpel, Adam Hernandez, Owen Henriksen, Magnus Tollefsrud, Kyle Lisowe, Matt Rhude and Samuel Salibi.

Juniors – *Ben Bachmann, Preston Beyer, *Steven Blend, *Cooper Ebbott, *Luke Hojnacki, Matthew Matz, Collin Miller, Corbin Dewey, Henry Heim, Thomas Theisen and *Austin Wiese.

Sophomores – Eric Frank, Ryan Gallagher, Jonathon Gideon, Austin Kultgen, Tate Tolman and Herby Dunn.

Freshmen – Matthew Primosic, Gabe Binversie, Tyler Equitz, Aidan Woida, Eric Novak, Ben Pierce, Will Hunter and Prem Patel.

* = Returning letter winners.

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