Barnegat Leader Spring Sports Preview

Bengal Tennis Coach Mixing and Matching Lineups in Search of Winning Combos

By | Apr 20, 2018

Last season the Barnegat High School boys tennis team had a new head coach in Karla Jennings and basically a new roster, having lost six players to graduation.

The losses were so great that Jennings didn’t simply say, as so many coaches would have, that the team was in a rebuilding year. She went beyond that saying “we anticipate this year to be a teaching season.”

That’s what 2017 turned into for the squad, as it failed to post a win.

This year’s team has more experience than last year’s, leading Jennings to say, “We expect to have a more competitive season than last year.” But it doesn’t have that much more experience.

It has only one senior in Ryan Wilson, expected to rotate between first and second singles with Zach Zentz, a junior with singles experience. Another junior, Billy Powers, played doubles in 2017.

After that Jennings will have to rely on newcomers, including juniors Anthony Lundy, Matt Daley and Noah Stickel, sophomore Joe Centimole, and freshmen Rob Wallace and Robert Kociban.

So far this season, in which the Bengals have gone 0-4, Jennings has scrambled her lineup, looking for an effective one-two-three punch in singles and chemistry at doubles.

In the team’s season opener against Point Pleasant Boro, she put out Wilson and Zentz at first and second singles respectively, Lundy at third singles, Stickel and Wallace at first doubles and Powers and Kociban at second doubles. The singles lineup remained the same against Lacey, but Powers moved up to play first doubles with Wallace while Stickel dropped to second doubles with Kuciban.

Powers continued to move up the ladder in the team’s third match against Lakewood, playing third singles behind Zentz and Lundy. But by match four, versus Donovan Catholic, he was back to playing first doubles with Wallace. Meanwhile, Centimole paired with Stickel at second doubles.

So the pieces of the 2018 Barnegat boys tennis team haven’t fallen into place yet, meaning the program may have another teaching season ahead of it.  —R.M.


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