Given the immense amount of success they’ve enjoyed in the past, it should come as no huge eye opener that the Middle Township High School boys’ tennis program reached high levels of achievement in the spring of 2019.
It may not be surprising that the Panthers performed so well, but it’s still quite impressive and noteworthy.
The Panthers finished with a powerful overall record of 19-3 and they were 14-0 en route to a Cape Atlantic League National Conference championship.
Middle Township also captured the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 1 Sectional crown.
“The South Jersey Group 1 Final versus Woodstown was tied up 2-2 in team score and it came down to our first doubles team of John Leahy and Teo Dimitrov, they won the sectional final in a third set tie breaker,’’ Middle Township head coach Matt Gilbert said. “It showed the heart and determination of all our players have and the perseverance they have to win big matches. It was an amazing environment, fans lined the fences and the energy level was hyped. That’s the atmosphere you want to play in during a final match.’’
Leadership was solid for the Panthers this year.
“First singles sophomore captain Max Gilbert and third singles senior captain Justin Price [were team leaders], the program was very dependent on these two positions to win every match and they did so,’’ Coach Gilbert said. “Second singles senior captain Nick Gibboni lead the team way example on and off the court.
“Our fourth captain who is also a senior Teran Broadnax who was sidelined during preseason due to an injury, he was our inspiration this season. He was a significant member of the program the last two seasons holding down our third singles spot and was expected to play second singles this season. After his injury we dedicated our season to him. Although he didn’t play he was there with us in spirit each match.’’
Coach Gilbert mentioned in terms of constant improvements made throughout the course of the season, both double teams made great strides with strategy and fundamentals.
The Panthers captured the CAL National Conference championship for the ninth time in 10 years. They won the South Jersey crown for the second year in a row and third time in four years.
“We are only graduating senior starters this season so it gives me hope that our program will continue to succeed,’’ Coach Gilbert said. “Plus this season we had the most players in the program and we are expected to have a nice freshman class for next year as well.
“There’s a winning culture here at Middle Twp. and each year we set our expectations higher for our program. The players understand the hours of hard work they need to put forth to contribute at this high level to be successful.’’