Every coach in every sport would love to have the problem girl’s tennis coach Matt Perekupka has this year; depth.
The Pirates have been hard at work for a little over two weeks now and challenge matches are still taking place because of the sheer amount of players on the court.
Cinnaminson had roughly 11 girls on the tennis team two years ago. Last year, the team had 17 girls. This season, there are 25 girls taking part in tennis activities at Wood Park.
With 25 players, you can easily field three teams and have players left to sub in and out of the lineup.
Perekupka knows having this many girls on the team will help with competition when it comes time to earn a spot on varsity.
“We started off with a week of practice so the girls could find their partner and try to put people in the right spots. The singles challenge matches went as expected for the most part. The doubles fell into place. It took a little more time when you have 25 girls vying for seven spots.”
The Pirates advanced to the second round of the South, Group 2 Tournament in 2015 before falling 3-2 to #3 Delsea. Cinnaminson took down Barnegat 5-0 in the first round.
It was a season in which the Pirates went 12-7 with a young lineup. Despite graduating two senior starters in Jenna Cuccinota and Lauren Gallo, the Pirates have a ton of experience at the varsity level.
Tori Robinson, Emma Trzaska, Madison Figiel and Rebekah Adams all return with another year of varsity experience.
“Tori (18-2 in 2015) and Rebekah (17-4 in 2015) will have continued success,” Perekupka said. “They both had outstanding seasons last year. Madison and Emma are moving spots this year. Madison has a new partner in doubles and Emma is moving to singles.”
“Last year we started a lot of freshman and sophomores and they are coming back this year. With so much youth on the team, it’s exciting to see what we will do this year and beyond.”
Perekupka has been pleased with the work the girls put in during the offseason from December to August.
“I like to talk about working in the offseason. I have stressed conditioning and working in the offseason. Girls who said they’ve never played tennis before definitely worked during the summer because they look comfortable. It makes it very easy to stress working in the offseason when the result is right in front of you.”
With so many players on the roster this year, it will be challenging (and a good one) for Perekupka to find time for each one in matches, but he will utilize a rotation.
“When we play teams of the upper echelon like Moorestown, we will pair our best JV players against their best JV players. We will try to get our strongest JV players times, while keeping in mind that everyone sees time in order to prepare for next season. We don’t get many practices during the regular season because of the amount of matches we play.”
Cinnaminson plays in the tough Freedom division with reigning champion Holy Cross.
“The girls are aware of Holy Cross and their dominance over the division the last couple of years,” Perekupka said. “They’re looking forward to the challenge. They know what the task at hand involves and the work that’s required to get there.”
Cinnaminson opens the season on Monday, September 12 at New Egypt at 3:45pm.
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