The OTHS boy’s tennis team is losing half of its top six players from last year but, there are no signs of the team’s success slowing down.
Year-round practice and preparation has allowed the Panthers to develop into a team brimming with depth. Strong in all spots of their roster this year, it will be a competitive battle for the team’s top spots.
“Our depth is incredible this year,” said head coach Erin Thoman. “Everyone put in a lot of work during the off-season and its showing.”
The Panthers still have a few weeks before they take the court on March 29th in a meet with Alton High School. Until then, the team is preparing and working hard to figure out who fill in for the varsity roster.
“Nothing is set yet. It’s all varying for now and with the depth that we have, it could stay that way for the first part of the season,” said Thoman.
While a majority of the varsity spots are up for grabs, several Panthers are expected to help anchor the deep roster. Returning and looking to make an impact for the Panthers are sophomore Dominic Macaluso, and seniors Riley Muren, Shree Patel, and Prem Patel.
The top Panther netters will have a lot to prove this season against tough competition in the Southwestern Conference. Despite losing three seniors to graduation from last year’s roster, Thoman does not anticipate her team to miss a beat.
“We can compete with the top teams,” said Thoman. “Edwardsville, East, and West are always tough but we can play with them. We had an awesome season last year and I think we can do it again.”
Last season Thoman and the Panthers had a great season that took them all the way to a Sectional title and 20th place in the IHSA State Tournament.
Home matches for the Panthers this season include Alton High School in March, East St. Louis and Belleville East High Schools in April, and Granite City in May.