As the Cleveland Indians celebrate Opening Day at Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland, the Saint Ignatius tennis squad will be opening the 2019 season in a quieter venue.
The Wildcats start the 2019 campaign with a road matchup on Monday at 4:30 pm vs. Westlake.
This season offers plenty of promise. The Tennis Cats enjoyed a banner year in 2018, rolling to a 13-2 dual match record and sending two doubles teams to the State Tournament. The goals are just as lofty this year.
Several players return to the varsity team, including state qualifiers Arjun Brahmbhatt and Nate Day. Brahmbhatt established himself as a bona fide No. 1 singles player and an excellent doubles partner in the postseason. Day can also play either singles or doubles with ease.
Drew Barclay, Thomas Deucher, and Jack McNally are all familiar faces ready for a new year. All three are talented players and will function well in either singles or doubles. Barclay and McNally will be important leaders as seniors.
Beyond these five returning Wildcats, it's a youth movement on the varsity roster. The team has three sophomores new to the varsity level and two freshmen on the squad. Jack Burns, Kenneth Li, and Arul Mehta will be on the hunt for playing time as sophomores. Michael Nock and Kai Vesikallio will looking to make great first impressions as freshman.
Looking at the 10-man roster and the schedule ahead, Head Coach Bobbe Bennett is ready to go.
“I am very excited to get the season started," Bennett said. "We have strong freshmen in the lineup and experienced returning upperclassman that gives us balance and experience.”
On the JV level, the Wildcats have a nice mix of experience and youth.
Charles Cindric and Varun Ravichandran will play leadership roles as juniors. Aristotle Apostolakis, Alex Daoud, John Daoud, Andrew Sfeir, and Shay Tanna will be key members as sophomores. Freshmen George Brown, Sohan Shah, and Liam Walters will be the youngsters on the 10-man roster.
The JV Cats start the year at home at Magnificat on Monday.