Rosenberg blooms in singles play

Sophomore off to strong start at No. 3 for PDS boys’ tennis

By: Justin Feil
   Scott Rosenberg was almost sad to see his first season of varsity tennis come to an end last spring. After going winless at first doubles through the first eight matches of his freshman year at Princeton Day School, Rosenberg moved to third singles and put together a 6-2 singles record. His success didn’t end until he had advanced to the Prep B semifinals.
   The answer to Rosenberg’s dramatic turn in fortune lies in part to a simple lesson taught early in life — sharing. It’s a lesson that he largely overlooks on the tennis court.
   "I kind of hog the court," the Skillman resident said. "I think I’m much more comfortable as a singles player."
   The only thing that Rosenberg has been hogging this season is wins. He has picked up where he left off last season and opened his sophomore campaign with the best record of any of the Panther singles players, 5-1, heading into today’s 4:15 match at home against Peddie.
   "I knew I had a good shot of being a singles player this year," he said. "I knew if I kept my focus from last year, I could do it. My freshman year was pretty successful. I would have liked to have gotten it off to a better start. But I think I won four of my last five matches. I wanted to maintain that level of play."
   So far this season, Rosenberg’s most difficult matches have come against the Maisel family. Princeton High’s Chad Maisel gave him his only loss this season, and Andrew Maisel of Hun was leading, 7-5, 1-3, when play was suspended Friday due to weather conditions. That match was to have continued Monday with the Raiders’ having already won the first singles position. Like last year’s season, Rosenberg would have preferred to have seen his own match continue just when he was gaining momentum.
   "It’s tough. I feel like my head’s in the match," Rosenberg said. "I was feeling good at 3-1. It’s going to be tough to get back out there. He’s a good player."
   With a win Monday, PDS could move to .500 for the first time this season. The Panthers opened with three straight losses, but two of them were by 3-2 scores. Wins over Wardlaw-Hartridge and Pennington last week put PDS in position for a third straight win.
   "The team feels a lot more mature this year," Rosenberg said. "Last year, we had three freshmen on varsity. I’ve improved. Over the past year, stroke-wise my game is probably the same. But mentally I’m a lot better.
   "Match experience helps a lot. Everyone’s a year older now. Everyone knows what to expect. And our preparedness comes from our coaches."
   Rosenberg credits head coach Rome Campbell with his improved mental approach to the game and assistant Will Asch with his consistent ground strokes. They’re the perfect complements to each other, according to Rosenberg. Under their tutelage, his second year of varsity got off to a stronger start than last year.
   "I started off really strong against Pingry," he said. "I felt strong there. Princeton High was a letdown. I got off my game. But I got back on the horse with the next match. I’m working a lot more.
   "I certainly felt like after the first matches I was off to a good start," he added. "That helped me gain momentum. It built confidence. If I can concentrate on my own game, I can pull out a lot of games."
   PDS would also like to improve on last season’s 9-9 record and third-place finish in the Prep B tournament. And with seven players that saw varsity time last season, the Panthers have a good shot at that goal.
   "Our team spirit is really much stronger than last year," Rosenberg said. "We’re coming together well. Everyone always says that tennis is an individual sport. But it’s really not just seven guys. Staying together is important. You need the support of all your teammates. We know we’re a contender. We definitely have our eye on a Prep B championship."
   And having Scott Rosenberg at the third singles position where he ended last season certainly helps those Panther chances. He’s particularly interested in two of the final matches PDS will play before the Prep B tournament begins.
   "This year, I know Rutgers Prep has some amazing first and singles players," he said. I know their third singles player, and I’m looking forward to playing him. I’m looking to see him again and see how much he improved and where I am. And I’m looking forward to seeing Montgomery, since I know a lot of their guys."
   If he can finish out this season the same way he began it and ended his first varsity season for the Panthers, there will be plenty of opponents who start knowing Scott Rosenberg’s name.