STRINGING IT TOGETHER: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Jonathan Gu hits a shot in action last spring. With the first singles at junior Gu Starring, PHS is off to a 5-0 start. In action, the Tigers host Notre Dame starting April 21 at the Mercer County Tournament on April 25 at the Mercer County Park Tennis Complex. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Sarah Hibbert has been doing some mixing and matching this spring with the Princeton High boys’ tennis team.
With junior tennis, PHS head coach Hibbert has been forced to shuffle things around with his sophomore season so far this spring.
“That’s a big gap in our singles lineup,” said Hibbert, referring to the loss of Ling. “Jonathan [Gu] The first singles at the strength of a lot of us to give back. Melvin [Huang] Secondly. All the other guys have been working really hard to step into the starting varsity lineup. ”
PHS defeated WW / P-North 3-2 on April 11 and Robbinsville 3-2 on April 13 in the build-up lineups.
“We were able to get past the North Doubles, especially with our second doubles played at Luke Bornstein’s filling second,” said Hibbert, whose team defeated Allentown 5-0 last Monday. improved to 5-0.
“He really stepped up. He’s got a big spot twice this week; he is usually right on the cusp there are the third doubles. He moved in and won a match against second doubles for us in North and moved into first doubles against Robbinsville and were still able to pull off. We had JV doubles at second. It made it a lot more exciting than it needed to be. ”
The first singles at junior Jonathan Gu from PHS figures get some exciting play all spring.
“He’s a fantastic all-around game,” said Hibbert of Gu. “He has a really impressive serve and can follow it up with either a groundstroke or a volley combination. He has a lot of his shots on pace. He can outplay even the best in the county so far. ”
At second singles, sophomore Melvin Huang brings a special work ethic and tenacity.
“Melvin is one of the hardest working players, he plays very long, grinding matches,” said Hibbert. “The Robbinsville match was another testament to that, Jonathan had finished his match while Melvin was still in the first set. He has added more pace to his shots this year, and he’s more match tough. ”
Senior Eric Zhu has worked his way up to the PHS ladder to earn third place singles.
“I think the doubles play from last year helped him with his singles game because it made him more willing to come to the net and put away volleys,” said Hibbert. “He has really solid groundstrokes and a big forehand. He has gained more confidence over the years. He worked his way up, starting with JV as a sophomore and making varsity before getting into the singles lineup this year. ”
The duo of senior Roberto Haubold and sophomore Jason Singer have some great things to do this spring.
“Roberto is a really solid doubles player, he has great volleys and a good sense of where to be on the court,” Hibbert said. “Jason is new to doubles, he played third singles at times last year. He adds the steadiness, the groundstrokes and the solid serve. He and Roberto are learning how to work together and pairing good doubles. It’s a solid team to put together. “
At second doubles, sophomore Nikita Medvedev and senior Varun Vaidyanathan have quickly developed a good chemistry.
“The first time they played together was in preseason and they were looking for their styles,” said Hibbert. “Nikita has done a great job. Varun has worked hard on his game.”
The Tigers are looking forward to competing in the MCT which is back to its flighted format from 2019 where players compete at first, second or third singles and first and second doubles, with earning team points.
“None of these guys have played in one because the seniors weren’t on varsity then,” said Hibbert, whose squad won the CVC Tournament last year, featuring featured head-to-head team matches.
“We should be running for it. We were able to win the CVC tournament, but that was last year and we are down to a player. The other teams have gained players and the prep schools are in the counties this year. I think, as usual, it could be a really exciting tournament with a lot of close matches and good competition. ”