Whitehall-Coplay Press

Monday, December 9, 2019

Zephs had strong season

Friday, July 12, 2019 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

It was another strong season for the Whitehall boys tennis team, highlighted by a deep singles championship run my senior Nick Rohn in the district tournament.

The season officially ended for Whitehall on May 6 when both of their doubles entries weren’t able to make it to the next round in the District XI 3A Doubles Championships Rohn and Nick Demjan were ousted by Southern Lehigh’s Zach Lebby and Jacob Nelson, 7-5, 6-1, while Daniel Jablonski and Daniel Lim were defeated by Liberty’s Jacob Wong and Anthony Ronca, 6-2, 6-2.

They ended the season 7-8, and will now focus on maintaining that level of success that they’ve enjoyed the last few years.

Head coach Robert Panny, who completed his first season, said that his experience with the players was extremely enjoyable.

“They were a great bunch of kids, fun to be around,” he said.

He also said that they worked really hard, starting with snow removal in March until the sun swept days of May. Their season also included gutsy wins against Bangor (5-2) and Easton (5-2) as they narrowly missed making the team tournament.

Panny also acknowledged the help of assistant coach Jenn Bodnar whose commitment helped things go smoothly as he worked with the players.

He was also aided by a strong senior group that included Rohn, Demjan, Josh Mallory and Jablonski. All those players, save Jablonski who was a newcomer, had four years of varsity tennis under their belts.

“[Their] leadership was invaluable,” said Penny. “They served as great role models for the younger players. Great ambassadors for Whitehall tennis.”

While that’s a lot of experience to overcome, effectively graduating their entire singles lineup, the Zephyrs will still retain a number of varsity players. Among those are Lim, Cole Blumenau, Serge Kasparian, Daniel Labram, Joshua Laky, Kyle Patton and Gabby Roustic.

The season was marked by a number of highlights. Both Rohn and Demjan qualified for the district singles tournament with both players winning their first round matches.

Rohn rode that victory all the way to the D-11 quarterfinals before succumbing to Pleasant Valley’s Josh Schaffner in three sets. Rohn relied on a rocket serve to help him become one of the best players in the league, earning third team all-conference in singles. Panny said that the senior was also the recipient of this year’s Zephyr Award.

The scholar athlete award went to Demjan.

Panny said that the reason they had another successful year could be attributed to that strong core of veterans.

“Our seniors played like seniors, played hard, didn’t give up, and won some tight matches against very good competition,” Panny said.

He also saw improvement from his large freshmen class.

“The underclassmen grew by leaps and bounds, some had never picked up a racket before and by the end of the season the increase in skill level was amazing,” said Panny.