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Shoveling the courts: Bay Port boys’ tennis preview

Senior Brett Fuglestad prepares to hit a shot at a recent Bay Port boys’ tennis practice (Rich Palzewic photo). 


SUAMICO – About the only cardiovascular exercise the Bay Port boys’ tennis team has gotten so far this season has come in the form of shoveling the high school courts free of snow.

Like the other spring sports teams in the area, the Pirates have had to make do with the little time they’ve had outside before Mother Nature does her part and melts the snow and dries things up.

“It’s definitely been a challenge early, but the kids are still excited and happy to be here,” said co-coach Steve Matuszewski, who along with his wife Lindsay coach the team. “We’ve only been outside a few times and even then we had to deal with wet courts on the side and cold and windy conditions. We’ve had to be creative when it comes to practice … fortunately Lindsay is a good planner and has done a great job of that. We are still in that phase of just being happy to be playing some tennis.”

It also helps, as Matuszewski says, that this year’s team “gets along well and is a great group to work with.”

Bay Port finished fourth in the Fox River Classic Conference a season ago with a 6-3 record behind perennial powers Green Bay Southwest, Ashwaubenon and Green Bay Notre Dame.

“I would expect us to be right in that same area this year again,” Matuszewski said. “There are three really solid teams in Southwest, De Pere – Nathan Balthazor, one of the top players in Wisconsin is back for them – and Notre Dame is young, but has some good talent. Ashwaubenon lost a lot due to graduation, but they’ve got some young freshman that will be in the mix. We will compete – we have a lot of seniors (16) that have played, so I think we are a deep team.”

The biggest loss talent-wise probably comes from the departure of No. 1 singles player Jayden Wartman, who transferred to Southwest – making an already good Trojans’ team even better.

Zach Graber is another huge loss for the team, as he and now-senior Eric Stratman made it to the WIAA D1 state tournament last year in doubles. The duo was named second-team all-conference in 2017. Bennett DeBouche (No. 2/3 doubles) and Dylan Kropp (singles) are also key losses due to graduation.

“We lost some talented seniors, so that’s where we are going to need somebody else to step up,” noted Matuszewski. “The kids worked hard during the offseason and have looked good from what we’ve seen, but they will need to get into competition before we can fully access that. When you start talking No. 1 and 2 singles, and doubles in this conference, it’s tough. We will probably have to go old-style, Bay-Port style with our No. 1 singles … we will have to do a combination of different things.”

Matuszewski mentioned Stratman and sophomore Aaron Murphy as possibilities at the top.

“That’s the hard part – there is such a big different between No. 1 and 2 singles and doubles compared to everything else,” Matuszewski added. “It’s such a big jump. We have a few freshmen that played in some middle-school tournaments and did really well there, but it’s still a big difference. We have some legitimate players in our conference that will be playing Division 1 tennis. In some of those situations, it might not matter who we roll out at the top – the other top players in our conference are just that good!”

The roster as of April 17 is as follows: freshmen Andrew Hodgson, Dillyn Zuelke, Hudson Menne and Griffin Keller; sophomores David Ceaglske, Tanner Belschner, Murphy, Dane Christiansen, Zachary Smith and Logan Bitters; junior Ben Bruen; and seniors Peter Martin, Jacob Meyer, Alexander Narkiewicz-Jodko, Le Long, Alec Jeffers, Daniel Fricke, Tim Daughtry, Thomas Olson, Grant Christiansen, Carter Olson, Clay Christiansen, Brett Fuglestad, Thomas Ashley, Travis Van De Yacht, Stratman and Maxwell Schauer.

Weather permitting, the Pirates will host De Pere Tuesday, April 24, in a FRCC match at the high-school courts beginning at 4:00.

Note: Due to the weather and cancellations/postponements, log on to foxriverclassicconference.com to view an updated schedule.

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