Knutson leads way for young Janesville Parker Vikings
Green is the theme this season for Janesville Parker’s boys tennis team.
The Vikings have 26 players on the roster, but 21 are freshmen or sophomores.
Parker, which opens the Big Eight season Tuesday at home against defending champion Middleton, lost 13 seniors to graduation.
“I would sum up our team in one word—young,” coach Mike Fuhrmann said. “But the kids we have are excited about playing the game, and it’s going to be exciting to see how they develop over the next three years.
“We’ve got a hard-working group of kids, but experience-wise, especially in doubles, we don’t have many kids that have played at the varsity level.”
One player that does have quality varsity experience is Matt Knutson. The senior and captain will play No. 1 singles for the second straight season.
“I’m expecting great things out of Matt this season,” Fuhrmann said. “The consistency in his all-around game has really improved. He’s a real strong server who can back it up with strong ground strokes.”
Junior Ian Weiland and senior Ryan Ploof, who both played doubles a year ago, will move to No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively, this season.
Fuhrmann said Weiland is smoothly making the adjustment to singles, while Ploof is a player that can utilize his quickness and athletic ability on the court to be a solid singles player.
Sophomore Ethan Zweifel and junior Jared Beighley are battling for the No. 4 spot.
Parker will have a new look at No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. Sophomore Austin McDonald and freshman Nick Garey will play No. 1 doubles in Tuesday’s opener, but the other two teams haven’t been set yet. Sophomores David Palan, Jaren Norrell and Spencer Debroux, along with freshman Jordan Peyer are expected to be in the mix.
“Like I said, we’re excited to get going,” Fuhrmann said. “And we open against one of the best teams in the state right off the bat.
“We’ve got a lot of kids that didn’t know a lot about high school tennis, but they seem to be picking things up quickly.”
(All home meets at Parker High School)
April: 5—Middleton, 4:15 p.m.; 8—At Fort Atkinson Quadrangular, 3:30 p.m.; 12—At Beloit Memorial, 4:15 p.m.; 14—At Madison East, 4:15 p.m.; 15—Parker Quadrangular (Beloit Memorial, Lake Geneva Badger, Fort Atkinson at Palmer Park), 3 p.m.; 26—Madison West, 4:15 p.m.; 28—At Verona, 4:15 p.m.
May: 3—Sun Prairie, 4:15 p.m.; 5—At Janesville Craig (Palmer Park), 4:15 p.m.; 7—At Stoughton Invitational, 8:30 a.m. 10—Madison La Follette, 4:15 p.m.; 12—At Madison Memorial, 4:15 p.m.; 14—At Milton Triangular (w/ Jefferson), 9 a.m.; 19—At Big Eight Conference Meet (Nielsen Tennis Stadium), 8 a.m.