Photo by AK Alilonu ’16 – The tennis team practices at the Phoenix Tennis Center from 2:15 to 4 on Feb. 26. The varsity team has won three straight championships in a row, and is looking to win a fourth this year.
By Gabe Morrison ’17
The Brophy tennis team, stocked with five returning varsity players and a new head coach, is looking to overcome a difficult Desert Mountain squad and win the state championship for the fourth straight year.
Mr. Bill Woods, the previous head coach, will be replaced by Mr. Gary Donnelly, a private coach and former professional tennis player.
Senior varsity player JJ Good ’15 said that in addition to winning state, he and other seniors’ goal would be to help the younger players become more comfortable with the program.
“A big thing is getting all of the underclassmen acclimated with the new coach and making sure that they are comfortable with him going forward,” Good said.
Zach Cihlar ’15, another varsity member, said their lineup is strong.
“We only lost one player, and that was our number seven,” Cihlar said in regards to changes in the varsity lineup. “So our singles is basically the same exact lineup.”
Last year’s singles lineup was, in order from one to six Cihlar, David Akin ’15, Christian Franco ’15, Good, Mike Cowan ’15 and Trey Brown ’17.
Good also said he thought Mr. Donnelly would be really good for the team.
“I think he is going to be really good for the program, and I think that some of the freshman and sophomores who haven’t played much tennis will really benefit spending a lot of time with him,” Good said.
Good also said the group would benefit from having the five returning seniors.
“I think having the five of us will really help the team and help the coach not have to worry as much about the leadership, and it will be good for him to know that he has five guys out there that are perfectly capable of keeping the team together, boosting moral, anything like that,” Good added.
A high school tennis match, according to Cihlar, is composed of six singles matches where each team’s best players play against each other, and it also has three doubles matches.
To win the match against the other school, a team must win five of the nine possible singles and doubles matches.
According to Cihlar, Desert Mountain’s team proved especially challenging last year, and Brophy was almost upset after going down 4-2 in singles. This forced the team to win three straight doubles matches to secure victory, which it did.
Mr. Donnelly did not respond to interview requests from The Roundup.