When the weather finally cooperated with the Pirates last year the team reeled off five straight victories, including two in the playoffs, to finish the year 7-6. In 2016; boy’s tennis primed for a deep playoff run.
With a handful of matches either canceled or postponed early last year due to the weather the Pirates had multiple strings of days where they did not get to play.
For another program, this might have affected how they competed once back on the court, but the Pirates were ready when told they were headed to the postseason.
Cinnaminson won the first two rounds as the 12-seed against #5 Middlesex on the road and #13 Florence at home before falling to #1 Metuchen 3-2 in the Central, Group 1 semifinals.
Per the norm, the Pirates will play one of the toughest schedules in Burlington County in 2016 with Moorestown and Rancocas Valley two of the first three matches.
“When we’re playing Moorestown, we got that one win last year,” head coach Mike Fries said. “We hope to build upon that this year and maybe we can sneak another win out of there. Playing them, R.V. and Northern Burlington it will only help us when we get to the tournament.”
The Pirates failed to win the division for the first time in quite a while in 2015, but Fries is confident the Pirates can get back to the top of the Freedom division this season.
“Our number one goal is to win the division. We think we can compete knowing that Delran moved to the other division. We have to come prepared to beat Palmyra twice and Holy Cross to meet our number one goal.”
Cinnaminson boy’s tennis returns five varsity starters from last year’s squad. That’s five of seven spots on the varsity courts.
“It helps returning five of the kids out of the seven that started varsity last year,” Fries said. “That helps tremendously. We were Central, Group 1 last year. This year we are South, Group 2. It’s going to be a lot tougher this year playoff-wise. We want to get some home playoff matches and see how far we can go.”
Fries talked about the off-season preparation his players took part in this past winter.
“These guys actually played at the Moorestown Field House in the winter to prepare for the season. They’ve been out here whenever it’s been nice out.”
The Pirates have home-and-home series with Palmyra, Florence, Burlington City, Trenton Catholic and Rancocas Valley. They take on Delran on the road and Holy Cross at home.
“You can’t look past any of your opponents, no matter the name of the school or what their record was last year,” Fries said. “If you are down in a set, no matter the score, you have to keep fighting.”
Fries has yet to name captains, but likes the leadership shown by three of his returners.
“They’re very focused. They know what’s expected of them,” Fries said. “With Eddie (Runquist), Tyler (Collins) and Tim (Campbell), all three are great leaders and very tough competitors. The other guys see the way they come out and prepare, warm up and know exactly what needs to be done.”
Boy’s tennis opens the 2016 season on Monday, April 4 at home against Palmyra at 3:30pm.
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