Both of the area tennis teams, Princeton and St. Bede, have been waiting out the weather, anxious to play in the Bruins Invitational on Saturday. PHS had its scheduled season opener canceled Tuesday because of inclement weather, but made it out Thursday vs. Peoria Central.
Princeton: Out of last year’s starting six, the Princeton Tiger tennis team lost five of them. Garrett Kostello is the lone returning starter; after that, the Tiger varsity will all be fresh faces.
“I guess you could call this a rebuilding year,” PHS coach Connie Lind said.
The Tiger coach has 16 players out this spring, splitting them evenly with eight on the varsity and eight on the JV. Lind will field a JV team rather than a fresh-soph, so that “everyone gets to play a match that counts towards a win. Everyone can contribute.”
Kostello, one of five seniors on the roster, steps up from No. 2 singles to No. 1. Junior Zach Hicks slides in at No. 2 singles with some varsity experience under his belt.
Lind said said all three of her doubles teams are a work in progress. Candidates include seniors Brady Frank, Miguel Austin and Nick Toth, junior Connor Bay and sophomores Elliott Beetz and Ian Nichols.
The JV team will consist of seniors Andrew Birkey and Jonathan Kaler, juniors Mason Hunt, Hunter Rodda, Nate Duffy, and sophomores Vlad Stepanov, Nick Warren and Matthew Butler.
PHS tennis has a new assistant coach in Doug Faber, who is no stranger to Tiger tennis. He played for PHS on the varsity four years, qualifying for the state tournament two years in a row playing doubles with his brother, Kevin.
St. Bede: Like the Tigers, the Bruins face much turnover at the top with the loss of No. 1 and No. 2 singles players Jack Faletti and Adam Sickley. Those spots will be taken over by seniors Billy Pryde and Mitch Dean.
Other squad members include seniors Mike Zywica Justin Giordano, Anthony Schneider, Mitch Dean and Joe Jagiella. junior Ernie Steinz, sophomores Collin Giordano, Keaton Smith and Killian Anderson, and freshmen twins Jimmy Cameron and Cole Cameron.
The Bruins will host the St. Bede Invite Saturday, welcoming Princeton, Aurora Central Catholic and Aurora Marmion Academy.
St. Bede and PHS are the lone two teams in the NCIC.
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