Just over two months separate the Saint Ignatius tennis program from the 2019 season.
As members of the Tennis Cats work individually indoors to prepare for the rapidly approaching season, Head Coach Bobbe Bennett is hard at work finalizing the schedule.
A couple of variables are not solved yet, but Bennett has the slate just about finished.
“We’re not traveling as much, which is nice. Overall, the schedule is good and similar to last year,” Bennett said. “I’m looking to build more trips to Cincinnati and Columbus to see those really strong teams to keep our kids competitive. I’m trying to add a Cincinnati team or two right now.”
The 2019 slate currently has 12 dual matches, a doubles tournament, and a trip to Columbus for the New Albany Invitational. The regular season kicks off with a contest at Shaker Heights on March 26 and concludes on April 25 at Solon.
The Wildcats begin the season on the road throughout Northeast Ohio. The squad will play four road matches to start the campaign – at Shaker Heights, Westlake, Avon Lake, and Copley. All four squads should provide solid competition.
The first match at the team’s home court at Magnificat High School will occur on Monday, April 8. One day after Walsh Jesuit treks to Cleveland, North Canton Hoover will come north on April 9. The Wildcats then hit the road to end the week at University School.
“University School is one of our bigger matches of the season,” Bennett said. “They’re very strong this year.”
As usual, Medina will host a doubles tournament this season. The tourney is currently slated for Saturday, April 13, an all-day doubles competition pitting the best duos from across the state against each other.
The following week will be packed for the Wildcats. Bennett’s contingent will have three matches in three days – a road contest at Kenston and home games against Hawken and St. Edward.
“St. Ed’s is always is a fun match,” Bennett said. “All of our guys look forward to it.”
Following the rivalry showdown, the Wildcats will have six days to prep for the final two contests of the season. The Tennis Cats will host Revere on April 23 before playing Solon at a to be determined location on April 25.
“Solon is always a competitive match. They have tough tournament players,” said Bennett.
Just finalized is the New Albany Invitational. The Columbus tournament’s date has been set for May 4. The venue will provide plenty of great competition for the Wildcats.
The Sectional Tournament starts on May 10 and continues on May 11 and 13. Bennett will serve as the director of the tournament this season, playing the lead role as the organizer of the first step of the postseason. The first day of the competition is tentatively at Oberlin, with days two and three at Magnificat. Districts and States follow in the next two weeks following.
Looking forward to the season, Bennett sees a young Saint Ignatius squad, but one with plenty of promise.
“We’re very young overall. We’ll likely have two seniors – Jack McNally and Drew Barclay, along with Arjun Brahmbhatt back as a junior,” Bennett said. “We’ll have a lot of sophomores who got a taste last year. I’m looking for them to jump into the lineup. So far, they’ve been working very hard in the offseason. We’ll also have some freshmen who will have a chance to jump in the lineup. We’re deep and young, so we’ll have lots of chances for development.”
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