Teams, Players To Watch On Tennis Court

Posted: March 27, 1986

Malvern Prep's David DiLucia blitzed through the tough Inter-Academic League as a freshman last year. He lost one regular-season match, rolled 6-0, 6-0 in the league first-singles final, and established himself as one of the bright tennis prospects in the area.

"Believe it or not," new Malvern coach John Palumbo said, "last year probably was the worst year he's had in tennis."

Marple Newtown's Alex Unterkoefler won the Central League and District 1 singles titles in 1985. So how will Unterkoefler motivate himself in 1986?

"He'll set individual goals," Marple coach Don Ott said. "He'll try to

allow a certain amount of points during the match. If he allows more, he'll penalize himself, he'll run laps."

DiLucia and Unterkoefler are only two of the fine young boys' tennis players to watch during the 1986 tennis season. Conestoga's Marc Caltabiano is another.

Teams that bear watching include Harriton, trying to extend its Delaware Valley League dynasty, Friends' Central, gunning for its sixth straight Friends Schools League title, and Akiba Hebrew, after its third straight Penn-Jersey Conference crown.

On the distaff side, Merion Mercy, the Country Day School of the Sacred Heart and Villa Maria of the Catholic Academies League are part of a dying breed - girls' teams that still play tennis in the spring.

INTER-ACADEMIC LEAGUE

EPISCOPAL ACADEMY.

Coach: George Shafer.

Shafer isn't used to losing, but he had to bite the bullet last year. The Churchmen finished 2-6 in the Inter-Ac, the first losing season the long- time Episcopal coach could remember "in at least 20 years."

Things don't figure to get much better this season. Jamie Richter is the only senior among the singles players. He will play No. 2 behind freshman Lars Beck. No. 3 Adam Farber and No. 4 Christian Smith, both sophomores, will try to make the Churchmen respectable in the competitive Inter-Ac.

HAVERFORD SCHOOL.

Coach: Craig Dripps.

The Fords will have a tough time matching their performance in 1985, when they tied Germantown Academy for the league title and lost only two matches all year.

The only singles player back from that squad is junior Scott Lambdin. Lambdin, who fell to Penn Charter's Jamie Fitzgerald in the league's second singles final last year, will play No. 1. Sophomore Norris Smith and junior Jeremy Carmone are battling for the No. 2 singles position.

MALVERN PREP.

Coach: John Palumbo.

Palumbo replaces Reggie Day as head coach. The long-time tennis pro has been DiLucia's personal coach for three years and expects the Malvern sophomore to have a big season.

"I had him playing an aggressive game last year, but he didn't have the strength to finish off the points," Palumbo said. "But he's had a growth spurt in the last couple of months. His game has taken off."

DiLucia stands 5 feet, 8 inches and weighs 130 pounds, two inches taller and 10 pounds heavier than last year. He is the top-ranked Middle States 16- and-under player.

Darren Rish, Matt Cann, Eric Dellatore and Scott Walsh are battling for the positions behind DiLucia on what should be an improved Malvern squad.

CENTRAL LEAGUE

CONESTOGA.

Coach: Mike Lorbach.

The Pioneers won the Central League crown outright in 1985 after tying for the title in 1984. They went 12-0 overall and 9-0 in the league, including a clutch 4-3 win over Penncrest to clinch the league title.

Caltabiano, a senior, will play at No. 1 once again this year. Senior Kyle Merrow, a transfer from Connecticut, will play at No. 2. The Pioneers are green after that with sophomore Dave Fultz playing third singles and sophomore Scott Stephens playing fourth singles.

HAVERFORD.

Coach: Eleanor Harrison.

The Fords have nearly everyone back from last year's squad, which finished in the middle of the Central League pack. So Harrison expects a much-improved season.

Senior Sean Ryan will play at No. 1 singles again. Senior Chris Hanley is the No. 2 man. Juniors Ed Jackson and Jeff Kaliner, both experienced veterans, are vying for the No. 3 spot.

LOWER MERION.

Coach: Charlie Fiore.

The Aces, who tied Penncrest and Marple Newtown for second in the league last season, will look to freshman Ray Bordogna to carry the load this year. Bordogna is 18th in the Middle States 14-and-under rankings.

Seniors Josh Pleasure and Matt Mongiello are battling for the No. 2 spot. Lower Merion will be hard-pressed to make up for the graduation loss of Dan Kadish and David Glickman, No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, last year.

MARPLE NEWTOWN.

Coach: Don Ott.

Unterkoefler heads what Ott says may be the best team he has had in his four years as head coach.

"Singles-wise," Ott said, "we're as strong as any team in the league."

Senior Adam Gleklen will be No. 2 again after playing behind Unterkoefler last year. He was an all-Central selection as a junior. No. 3 Binoy Kamal and No. 4 Dave Mulholland should make the Tigers tough to beat.

RADNOR.

Coach: Skip Shoemaker.

Shoemaker hopes balance carries the day for the Red Raiders.

"We don't have the outstanding players who will win tournaments at No. 1 and No. 2," he said. "We have a balanced lineup."

Lucas Loukedis will play at No. 1 and Dave McDonnell will play at No. 2. Seniors Matt Miades and Bryce Moses form Radnor's top doubles team.

CATHOLIC LEAGUE

ARCHBISHOP CARROLL.

Coach: Paul Waltz.

The Patriots have several quality tennis players. Waltz hopes that depth translates into an improvement over last year's 8-3 league record.

Steady senior Rich Procopio lines up at No. 1. Paul Amrein, No. 2 last year, is back in that position this season. Sophomore Hugh Laroque and freshmen Dennis Brennan and Tim Curvan are battling for the final two singles positions.

CARDINAL O'HARA.

Coach: John Peters.

Peters, who replaces June Sears, is a familiar face to O'Hara tennis fans. He coached the O'Hara girls from 1970 to 1982 and led the O'Hara boys from 1976 to 1979.

He has a tough task in his first year back. No. 1 Greg Dienna, No. 2 Rob Slattery and No. 3 Mark Schievert must mature quickly after spending last year on the junior varsity.

DELAWARE VALLEY LEAGUE

HARRITON.

Coach: Marcy Cohen.

In his seven years as head coach at Harriton, Ed Frank won seven straight league titles. So Cohen has a tough act to follow.

But the first-year coach has the talent to capture another league crown. No. 1 Jim Pearlstein, No. 2 Anthony Joffee and No. 3 Noah Feinberg are experienced varsity players. No. 4 Gerry Tiffan was No. 1 as an eighth grader at the Welsh Valley Middle School last year.

CHES-MONT LEAGUE

GREAT VALLEY.

Coach: Murray Liddick.

Great Valley almost won the league title last year, losing, 4-3, to West Chester East in a playoff. New coach Liddick, who takes over for Mel Schucker, is looking for bigger and better things this year.

"I hope we can do as well or maybe go undefeated," Liddick said.

Great Valley's top two singles players, No. 1 Matt Bergey and No. 2 Ethan O'Shea, return. No. 3 Bill Hauser and No. 4 Jeff Gawley add more experience to a talented lineup.

FRIENDS SCHOOLS LEAGUE

FRIENDS' CENTRAL.

Coach: Meade Thayer.

Thayer has built a dynasty at Friends' Central, capturing five straight league titles.

The Phoenix, who went 6-0 in the league last year, return eight lettermen. No. 1 Chris Bonovitz, No. 2 Dan Klein and No. 3 Ken Slotnick should lead the way to another league crown.

PENN-JERSEY CONFERENCE

AKIBA HEBREW.

Coach: Diana Orphanides.

The Cougars suffered only one key graduation loss, Sam Binder, from a squad that won its second straight league title.

Will Augenbraun, the returning league No. 1 singles champ, is a sophomore. Sophomore Barak Richman will move up one spot to No. 2 singles for the young and talented Cougars.

SUBURBAN ONE AMERICAN

UPPER MERION.

Coach: Phil Scott.

Scott is looking for improvement after an off-year in 1985.

Senior Mark Heron, who didn't play last year, will be at No. 1. Paul LaSpina moves up from doubles to No. 2 singles. Rob Lewis and Doug Meade, a talented sophomore, fuel the Vikings' hopes.

BICENTENNIAL LEAGUE

DEVON PREP.

Coach: George Kline.

Kline, who coached at Cheyney State last year, steps in for Janice Bratches. He was a long-time coach at West Chester Henderson, where he won the Ches-Mont League title in 1968.

No. 1 Bill Keller is unorthodox but effective. Junior Doug Kaune will open at No. 2.

INDEPENDENTS

DELCO CHRISTIAN.

Coach: Ernie Qvarnstrom.

Qvarnstrom has his entire team back for what should be a successful season. Seniors David Sacks, Jeff Clark and Tom Taylor are battling for the top three singles positions.

PHELPS SCHOOL.

Coach: Barry Parney.

After suffering heavy graduation losses, Phelps will be hard-pressed to match last year's 6-4 record. Ken Ussenko, who played third singles in 1985, is the only returning singles player.

SHIPLEY SCHOOL.

Coach: Jeff Driscoll.

With nearly everyone back, Shipley should improve on the 6-7 record it recorded last year.

Senior Jon Erlbaum will plan No. 1 singles for the third straight year. Sam Allen will be at No. 2 and Jim Bordogna, a transfer from Great Valley, will open at No. 3.

VALLEY FORGE MILITARY ACAD.

Coach: Art Saggiotes.

Saggiotes is optimistic even though only two starters return from a team that went 3-8. Seniors Jody Bretnall and David Kannard are the returning lettermen.

Fueling Saggiotes' optimism is No. 1 Sean Kapp, a new cadet from Ohio.

WOODLYNDE.

Coach: Carl Mastrapolo.

Mastrapolo was named recently to head Woodlynde's coed tennis team. He'll have junior George Hamilton, No. 1 last year, talented eighth grader Scott Smith and sophomore Jen Gushner at his disposal.

GIRLS' TEAMS

CATHOLIC ACADEMIES LEAGUE

MERION MERCY.

Coach: Dodie Audet.

With the Catholic League and Inter-Academic League girls' schedules shifted to the fall, this is the only circuit featuring girls' tennis in the area.

Audet will bank on a senior-dominated squad in her first year as Merion Mercy coach. Mary Kate Bruder, Priscilla Gaffigan, Melissa Olsen and Paula Ryan lead the way.

SACRED HEART.

Coach: Louisa Sweeney.

Sweeney, in her sixth year as head coach, looks for improvement after a losing season. No. 1 Chase Thompson and No. 2 Ellen Hallinan are the keys for the Country Day School of the Sacred Heart.

VILLA MARIA.

Coach: Winnie Gilliford.

Gilliford lost only one player to graduation from a squad that finished second in the league last year. Her top two singles players, No. 1 Denise Bugey and No. 2 Miriam Robinson, are back.

|
|
|
|
|