First-year tennis players always seem to have solid success in the Twinsburg program.
This year’s boys’ squad is no different.
Twinsburg posted a 5-0 win at Nordonia Friday in this spring’s Opening Suburban League National Conference clash.
Senior Rainier Soetanto won 6-1, 6-3 at first singles over Ranbeer Bagwa.
At the second singles spot, senior Pranav Duvvuri beat Drew Kitzmiller 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.
Freshman Jesse Grum defeated The Knights’ Ryan Gitiforooz 6-2, 6-3.
In the first doubles action, Twinsburg seniors Nick Picollo and Siddh Jhaveri won 6-0, 6-0 while senior Owen Burgess and freshman Rob Prevette were second doubles at 6-1, 6-1 winners.
Regarding Twinsburg featuring six first-year seniors this spring, 15-year head coach Michael Porinchak says there are a few reasons why this happens so often.
“Many freshmen come to high school with baseball, soccer, or basketball on their minds and never consider tennis until they get a cut from those other programs,” pointed out Porinchak.
Twinsburg (2-3) faced rival Aurora and dropped a 4-1 decision against experienced Greenmen April 7.
In the second doubles action, the Tigers were victorious. Jonah Shanholtzer and Chris Cifani of Aurora’s duo over The Freshmen team’s Prevette and Grum registered a 6-1, 7-5 win.
Aurora standout Vincent Cannata to a 6-2, 6-2 loss at the first singles, Soetanto Battled.
Senior Kevin Lin lost 6-0, 6-0 to Mitchell Curtis in the second singles spot while Burgess fought to a 6-3, 6-4 defeat against third singles Revanth Mahankali.
Piccolo and Duvvuri of The Tiger’s first doubles crew fell 6-4, 6-3 to Aurora’s team of Shrevaj Menon and Vikas Duvvuri.
In recent non-league action, Twinsburg blanked Lyndhurst Brush 5-0.
Soetanto was a 6-0, 6-3 victor at the first singles while Duvvuri won 6-0, 6-0 at second singles, and Grum was a 6-0, 6-0 winner at third singles.
At first doubles, Piccolo and Prevette were victorious 6-3, 6-0 over The Arcs.
Raghav Kasibhatla, a senior, along with Burgess posted a 6-0, 6-1 victory over the Tigers in the second round of doubles.
In all, Twinsburg has six first-year seniors: Jake Rosenthal, Justin Rosales, Burgess, Jhaveri, Kasibhatla and Piccolo.
“The last few years we’ve had some really big senior classes that have a chance to get out of the big classes, unless the younger guys are better off,” explained Porinchak.
“I think it is also the fact that here in Twinsburg we get as many players as tennis for the first time as freshmen,” he went on. “So, it takes a few years to develop these players so they can compete at the varsity level.”
“Sure, it would be nice to get players that have been trained in tennis since age five, but that’s pretty rare here,” added Porinchak. “Tennis is not just a popular sport in America, but a great proportion of kids play it at an early age, like baseball or soccer. So, the result is that we are not the only coaching strategy, but also the absolute basics of sport.
Porinchak compared things to baseball, as far as fundamentals go.
“I mean, imagine having a varsity baseball coach and teaching players how to swing or throw a ball from the beginning,” said Porinchak. “We are proud of all of our players for a small amount of time and I give them the credit of the vast majority of Russ Chappell, my junior varsity coach, for all he does for developing players.”
“One other reason we have so many first-year juniors and seniors is that many of our players don’t come out to the team until then and I need to do a better job recruiting freshmen,” he added.