from today's Waukesha Freeman -
BOYS TENNIS PREVIEW: Catholic Memorial
Crusaders relying on experience
CMH returns six letterwinners
- Freeman Staff
WAUKESHA – Most coaches will take quality over quantity.
Catholic Memorial High School boys tennis coach Carl Veenendaal is no exception.
And when Veenendaal overlooks his 2014 roster, he likes the quality it has.
The Crusaders have six letterwinners back from last season’s team, which finished second in Classic 8 Conference duals and conference tournament.
“I’m grateful for the guys we have,” Veenendaal said. “We’ll try to make a run at the (conference) title. Arrowhead is always so deep. A school (with that many) students has a lot of players to choose from. We’ll see.”
CMH’s veterans are seniors Mike Mirsberger, Joseph Diedrich and Jon Rymer; junior Christian Erickson and sophomores Tommy Matoska and Matt Murphy.
Mirsberger finished second in the conference tournament at No. 2 singles, and he teamed up with his brother, 2013 graduate Matt Mirsberger, for a secondplace doubles finish in the WIAA Division 2 state tournament. The duo finished third in the state tourney in 2012.
Matoska placed second at No. 3 singles in the Classic 8 tourney and captured fourth in the state tournament as a freshman.
“Mike Mirsberger will play first or second singles, and Tommy Matoska will play the other spot in our conference lineup,” Veenendaal said. “For state, they’ll be our first doubles team.”
Murphy and 2013 grad Trevor Norton placed second in the conference tourney at No. 3 doubles in 2013. Diedrich and 2013 grad Joe Gagliano finished third at No. 1 doubles, and Rymer competed at second doubles last season.
Among the Crusaders’ varsity newcomers is freshman Andrew Diderich, Joe’s younger brother.
Veenendaal was impressed with his team leaders’ commitment to the sport during the offseason.
“Mike Mirsberger is our captain,” Veenendaal said. “He and Tommy Matoska and the Diedrich brothers know each others’ games well and have put a lot of time into their games.”
The coach is in the process of constructing his lineup.
“Andrew Diedrich, a freshman, will most likely play first doubles with his brother, Joe, in our conference lineup,” Veenendaal said. “Jon Rymer, who played second doubles, and Matt Murphy, who played third doubles last season, will possibly be our second doubles team in the conference.
“Christian Erickson will probably play third singles in the Classic 8 and first singles in the tournament.
“Our third doubles and fourth singles are still to be determined.”
Veenendaal believes defending champion Arrowhead and his CMH team are the conference favorites. He also thinks that high school golf could be in jeopardy.
“We only have seven JV players,” Veenendaal said. “I think the recession is catching up to tennis. To play tennis year-round takes money. It’s an expensive sport to play.
“Also, there are so many sports to play in the spring. With the other sports and the academic challenges Catholic Memorial provides, it’s a tough environment to succeed at both. We’re also the smallest school and the only Division 2 school in the Classic 8, and it’s hard to compete.
“Our kids have done it, but it’s getting tougher. Our overall numbers are dwindling.”
Veenendaal said the Crusaders should be proud of what they have accomplished on and off the court.
“We’ve had a lot of kids come through our program who have been really dedicated to the sport,” he said. “A lot of them are in international baccalaureate and advanced placement classes.
“I try to have good, hard practices, because you’ve got to put the time in to be good. But the guys have to get home and eat and do their homework. Academics have always come first at Catholic Memorial.”
Photo: Catholic Memorial’s Joe Diedrich was part of the Crusaders’ No. 1 doubles team that finished third in last year’s Classic 8 Conference tournament. Freeman file photo