Riverside-Brookfield High School boys tennis coach Brennan Denny is targeting a broader measurement of success than simply wins this season. The objective is to develop a true, sustainable tennis culture within the program.
“Right now we are fighting the battle of inexperience,” Denny said. “A tennis player at RB typically doesn’t have much experience, so we have to teach the fundamentals of the game like how to properly hold a racquet and court positioning.
“We’re trying to build more of a culture of tennis, especially among our younger players as we have seven freshmen on the team. We’ve had summer camps which we hope to install as more of a fixture.”
While the roster includes 10 underclassmen overall, the Bulldogs boast some talented returners. Senior Peter Pribyl Pierdinock has been on the varsity three years and is the team’s No. 1 singles player this spring.
“I like to hit from the baseline,” Pribyl Pierdinock said. “I feel like tennis is a game of power and athleticism which I think are strong points in my game. Occasionally, I try to work my way up to net to finish off points.
“Personally, I just want to progress each match in order to play my best tennis at the sectional. The sectional gets you to state, and that’s my goal. As a team, we’re hoping for a top 3 finish in conference and just getting better and having fun every day.”
Senior Andrew Pilewski is at No. 2 singles and promising junior Evan St. Paul can plays both singles and doubles.
Junior Ben Pollock and St. Paul typically play No. 1 doubles, although Denny paired Pribyl Pierdinock and Pilewski at No. 1 doubles, which produced a second-place finish at the Leyden Invite.
“We have some nice pairings in doubles that work well together,” Pribyl Pierdinock said. “Our singles players don’t get frustrated and have a good mental attitude. I think our singles and doubles players work well off each other which makes us a stronger team.”
Sophomore Frankie Filec, freshman Erik Roedel, sophomore Brandon Winslow, senior Chris Detloff and freshman Jason Kenny have contributed as well this spring.
“We’re definitely pretty strong at the top of the lineup,” Pollock said. “We also have some new guys in their first year playing tennis who are getting better. I think we’re all just trying to improve each day and win a couple of matches along the way.”
Although RBHS (1-6-1) lost matches to Willowbrook, Illiana Christian, Nazareth and Wheaton Academy and finished third at the Wheeling Invite last week, Denny believes the Bulldogs are making progress.
The Bulldogs played particularly well against Nazareth in a 4-3 loss as Pribyl Pierdinock, Pilewski and Filec earned victories. On Saturday at Wheeling, Pribyl Pierdinock and Pilewski won No. 1 and No. 2 singles titles, respectively.
“I think we’re having more fun this year,” Denny said. “It’s hard going up against good teams and taking tough losses day in and day out, but I feel like the guys are making improvements each day and competing hard. Our primary goal is just battling more against good teams and making every match as competitive as possible.”
RBHS, which is in the West Division of the expanded Metro Suburban Conference, hopes to play its best tennis when the playoffs roll around.
“Lyons Township, Nazareth and Argo are probably the top three teams that will be in our sectional,” Denny said. “If we find ourselves in the mix and have a good day, maybe we can sneak a singles player or doubles team into the state tournament.”
The Bulldogs have three matches on the road this week before returning home April 28 to face Glenbard South 4:30 p.m. in a conference match.