The Matanzas High School Pirates boys tennis team took third place as a team in the district tournament last season.
The Matanzas Pirates tennis team is led by fifth-year coach Rich Cottingham this season.
Last season, the Pirates finished 11-3 and took third place as a team in the district tournament. This year, Cottingham hopes that will change.
So far this season, the Pirates are 4-2, and the team’s top four players all have realistic shots to win their respective district championships, Cottingham said.
No. 1 player Sam Mkrtychev lost in the semifinals in the district tournament last season. He has already signed to play tennis next year at Flagler College. Cottingham believes Mkrtychev has a realistic shot at winning the No. 1 singles title at districts and earning a state playoff berth.
Sophomore Henry Lao plays the No. 2 spot. Lao won the district title for his spot on the team last season and is hoping for a repeat performance this season.
Nick Petrillo is a freshman this season, but boasts USTA tournament experience, Cottingham said, and should be a contender at the No. 3 spot at districts.
Mkrtychev and Lao team up as a dominant doubles team, which reached the semifinals of last season’s state tournament.
Adam Hoke and Kevin Brady round out the five players. Hoke is a home-schooled junior.
When asked what this team’s strength are compared to last season’s team, Cottingham replied: “We have a lot more depth this year. We are a lot better than we were last year.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sam Mkrtychev, Sr.: Lost in the semifinals of the district tournament last season. Recently signed his National Letter of Intent to play at Division II Flagler College.
Henry Lao, Soph.: Won the district tournament as No. 2 singles last season as a freshman. Returns as a sophomore looking for a repeat of last season’s success.
Nick Petrillo, Fr.: Incoming freshman with a ton of USTA tournament experience. Likely will contend for a district title at the No. 3 spot.
To preview Mantanzas girls tennis, click here.
To preview FPC boys tennis, click here.
To preview FPC girls tennis, click here.