It certainly appears that 2012 will be a rebuilding season for the Riverhead High School boys tennis team.
Hit hard by graduation and several players who decided not to return this year, coach Bill Lum looks to revamp a team that struggled in Suffolk County League VIII.
“It looks like a rebuilding year,” Lum said. “A lot of new players.”
Saying that, Lum said he expected to rely on several older, returning athletes to anchor the Blues Waves.
Junior Seth Conrad is slated to be the No. 1 singles player.
“He had a good season last year,” Lum said. “Seth had only a couple of loses last year, maybe two or three losses. I expect him to improve on that.”
Also expected to help out are seniors Joseph Inazalaro, Christian Aquire and John Rios.
“There are a couple of others,” Lum said, declining to name their names. “They have to work their way up.
“I’m looking at four or five players who are coming back with skill.”
Lum said he hopes to get a clearance to use an eighth-grader on the team. He declined to name the player’s name because the case is pending.
Asked how the team will fare this season, Lum replied, “It depends on the strength of the rest of the league.”
In League VIII, Lum said he assumes defending champion Mattituck will be in position to make some noise and be the team to beat — again.
“They’re a pretty good team and pretty deep,” he said. “They have young kids coming in. Mattituck should be the favorite.”
Shoreham-Wading River already passed its first test of the season, recording a 4-3 victory over Islip on Monday. The Wildcats will play their League VII opener against William Floyd at home on Wednesday.
“I’m hoping for another good win,” senior co-captain Tyler Yaskanich said. “I’m hoping for a strong year.”
The Wildcats will count on eighth-grader Chris Kuhnel as their No. 1 singles player. Don’t expect any jitters from Kuhnel, who started at first singles as a seventh-grader.
“Definitely a strong player,” Yaskanich said. “He stepped up to the plate. We expect good things.”
Yaskanich will fill the No. 2 singles role.
With all of last year’s doubles players graduated, coach Rick Muller will count on seniors Andrew Rossin and Gary Hauck in the top doubles spot, with senior Nick Araujo and junior Charles De Maio in the second position.
Seniors Peter De Leon and Dan Hauser have teamed up to become the third doubles partners.