EHS boys tennis goes 14-3
The Emmaus boys tennis team used its racquets to make a racket in the East Penn Conference, when the Hornets claimed two big wins in less than one week.
The Green Hornets registered scintillating 4-3 wins over league rivals Nazareth and Parkland around a 4-2 loss to Colonial League powerhouse Moravian Academy on April 13. The Green Hornets shutout Whitehall 7-0 on April 18 to end the regular season with a 14-3 overall record and a 11-2 EPC mark.
Emmaus’ storyline this season has been written by Sean Jaeger, who is considered the best boys tennis player going in the EPC. Jaeger was the catalyst behind the Green Hornets’ victories over Nazareth, which is 13-2 on the year, and Parkland, which is 11-2.
The sophomore mowed through Nazareth’s Gabe Knowles 6-0, 6-0 and Parkland’s Ankit Lenka 6-2, 6-0 like a blade on grass. Emmaus coach Brian Bleam is hard-pressed to conjure up adjectives to describe his club’s old reliable. When asked if Jaeger was working to improve any facet of his game during the regular season stretch, Bleam noted that Jaeger doesn’t think he’s all that.
“After the match when I ask him ‘how do you think you played,’ his response is always that ‘I could have played better,’” Bleam said.
That drive could well be what sets Jaeger apart from some other talented EPC foes. After manhandling opponents in the number one match, Jaeger then played number one doubles with Quinn Erk. The talented duo took care of business against the Blue Eagles and Trojans, giving the Green Hornets half of the four points needed to win.
Jaeger is already a fine tennis player, who could well become one the greatest players in Emmaus tennis history before his career ends.
But to get across the finish line, Emmaus needed more than Jaeger. The number two doubles team of Grant Haffner and Kevin Gee won what proved to be the pivotal matches in both the Nazareth and Parkland wins. The duo pulled out classic victories over Nazareth’s Soham Patel and Hamed Seleman 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) and Parkland’s Fyodor D’Souza and Conrad Lee 4-6,6-3,6-4.
“It was their mental toughness that got them through those matches,” said Bleam. “They were having trouble early with their first serve, but adjusted.”
In the other deciding match in the Parkland win, Erk defeated a solid opponent in Matthew Liu 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 in the number two singles match. His coach acknowledged Liu may be a technically more proficient player than Erk, however his number two man played a smart game with guile to wear down, and out, Liu.
“It may not have been pretty,but it was effective,” Bleam said.
Emmaus will compete in District 11 singles competition April 22, 24 and 25 before embarking on District 11 team play April 29.
Jaeger, the defending district singles champ, is the top seed in this year’s event.