SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Stubborn snow and cold temperatures have made getting court time difficult for the Spotswood High School boys varsity tennis team.
The young team along with head coach Daniel Krainski even had to help Mother Nature's melting process along by pitching in with a bit of shoveling. However, despite the delay, the team continues to prepare for the upcoming season, which is set to begin in April.
The Chargers lost three vital members to graduation in June 2016. Jake Engstrom, Robby Nason and Dushyant Singh have all moved on to college. Engstrom was a two-time All-Blue Division pick and qualified for the state singles tournament last season after a stellar performance at the first singles position.
However, the team does have some experience returning to the varsity lineup this spring. Derek Miller manned the third singles position in 2016 as a freshman while John Tobia, Ryan Miller and Stephen Gardner all played doubles at the varsity level. Junior Matt Evanego saw a bit of action in varsity doubles and junior varsity matches last season.
"The team is young and inexperienced, but will be able to make up for it with athleticism and court presence," Krainski said in a recent pre-season interview.
Krainski has been the head coach for the varsity tennis program for the past five season. The popular physical education teacher is an assistant coach for the Chargers' football team as well as the head coach for the wrestling team.
The tennis team is also welcoming three new additions this season including sophomore Josh Matthew, junior Michael Kaczmarski and senior Omar Kattak.
"The returners should fill out the singles lineup and returning participants, Stephen Gardner and Matt Evanego, will help complete the doubles teams," Krainski continued. "Newcomers Josh Matthew and Michael Kaczmarski will help add depth to the team and compete for doubles positions."
The players' inexperience may serve to be a weakness for the Chargers this season while their ability to learn and adapt will be pluses.
The Chargers first home match of the season will be on Monday, April 3 where they will take on South Amboy High School on the Summerhill Road courts. On Wednesday, April 5, the team will travel to South River High School for their inaugural away match against the Rams.