Jackson boys tennis teams show signs of improvement


The boys tennis teams at Jackson Liberty High School and Jackson Memorial High School have taken their lumps, but flashes of improvement in younger players have raised their coaches’ optimism for next season.

“It was going well as far as improvement,” said Jackson Liberty coach Eric Brodowski, whose only senior, Kyle Goldberg playing at second singles, had the most victories with six. Jackson Liberty finished its regular season 4-14.

Goldberg will be playing, along with others on both teams, in the Ocean County Tournament that takes place on May 19 at Bey Lea Park in Toms River. It was postponed from last weekend because of rain.

“[Goldberg] is just consistent,” Brodowski said. “He showed a nice forehand and backhand. He was very smooth, which could drive opposing players crazy.”

Freshman David Jarrett had a baptism of fire in first singles, but he responded well with some good wins, his coach said. Jarrett showed an effective first serve that got his game off to a solid start.

“It took me to the end of the year to realize that he had played most of his tennis indoors and we play outdoors, but he eventually got comfortable with it,” Brodowski said.

Brodowski will also start next season working with sophomore John Slahor, who played third singles; juniors Jared Burnett and Unah Magaya, who played in first doubles; and sophomore Charlie Straubel, who played in second doubles. One of those doubles players will need to move up to a singles spot, but Brodowski said he also noticed good prospects being groomed on the junior varsity level.

Jackson Memorial’s boys tennis team wraps up its Shore Conference A South Division season on May 14 at home against Toms River High School South with hopes of averting a winless season, which had its brightest efforts in a pair of 3-2 losses to Brick Memorial High School.

First singles player Chris Sweet, a senior, will lead the Jaguars in the county tournament. Senior Grant Grossman has moved up from third to second singles because of an injury, and he played effectively at times after struggling with the adjustment at the outset, coach Chris Opdyke said.

The rest of the team is young and Opdyke believes many will be in line to compete for singles spots next spring. Juniors Dave Kikozashvili and Jack Olzewski continue to progress at first doubles, as do Tyler Russo and Justin Kritou at second doubles.

“With the doubles teams, their tennis IQ has been better,” Opdyke said. “Their first volley has been better at keeping players away from the net.”

From there, Opdyke said, the key is that they continue working on their game, and competing in house tournaments could also help.