KP’s Girls Tennis Team has a Variety of Strengths

Ken Hamwey Staff Sports Writer
Coach Bob Goldberg
Issue Date: 
May, 2018
Article Body: 

Bob Goldberg has been coaching the King Philip girls tennis team for 46 years and his goals each year are always the same — qualify for the playoffs, win the Hockomock League title, compete for the state championship and have fun.
The 75-year-old Goldberg, whose squads have won 10 league crowns, is optimistic about his Warriors prospects this season and he’s hopeful the squad can repeat last year’s 17-4 regular season record that ended with a Kelly-Rex title. The coach’s positive outlook is based on the strengths his players displayed during pre-season practice.
“We’ve got high-IQ players with solid technique,’’ Goldberg said. “And, we’ve got girls with speed and quickness, good instincts and some who are very athletic. The attitudes are positive and we’ve got a good mix of power and finesse. Where the girls have to improve, however, is believing in themselves. They’ve got to believe they can pull off big shots.’’
At Local Town pages deadline, the Warriors were 2-1, defeating Canton and Attleboro and losing to Foxboro.
Key players like Becca Ricci (first singles), Megan Davenport and Carly Adams (first doubles) and Corinne Palumbo (second doubles) have graduated but there’s a talented group ready to fill the void.
Sophomore Erin Regnier, who competed at No. 2 singles last year, is Goldberg’s pick for the No. 1 slot. Last year, she compiled a 17-4 record. “Erin is an all-around player,’’ Goldberg said. “She’s got a good backhand slice, hits a big serve and her ground strokes are effective. She’s the type of player who won’t beat herself.’’
Senior tri-captain Meghan Sepich is competing at No. 2 singles. Last year, she missed only two matches after rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered in October of 2016. “Meghan plays fast and she strives for winning shots,’’ Goldberg said. “She’s a power-hitter with an effective backhand and an excellent forehand. Her serve is consistent and she’s very capable coming to the net.’’
Senior Caitlin Gonser is in her fourth year of varsity play and has moved from second doubles, where she was 9-0 last year, to No. 3 singles. “Caitlin has improved tremendously,’’ Goldberg said. “Her serve is strong, her ground strokes are good and she tracks the ball well. Caitlin has excellent court sense that enables her to move the ball and seek out her opponents’ weaknesses.’’
Sophomore Grace Ely and freshman Mia Valencia give the Warriors a presence at first doubles. Both have size — Ely at 5-foot-10 and Valencia is 5-foot-6. “Grace is a good athlete with excellent hand-eye coordination,’’ Goldberg said. “Her forehand and backhand shots are progressing. Mia is a lefty who gets nice spin on the ball. Her stroke placements are good and her volleys are accurate. Getting more court experience this year will be a plus.’’
Three girls are in the mix at second doubles. They include freshman Katarina Schneider, senior tri-captain Lucy Barnard and senior Hannah Putney.
“Katarina is a lefty who’s taken lessons,’’ Goldberg noted. “She’s coachable and has a complete game, able to hit any shot. Lucy started last year at second doubles. She hits very hard and at times has to learn to pull back. Her serve has a lot of top spin and she’s aggressive at the net. Hannah is a lefty who’s got all-around ability. Her serve is good, her ground strokes are effective, her backhand is smooth and her volleys are good.’’
Two reserves who could get playing time are senior tri-captain Merry Green and freshman Meghan Powers. “Merry was cut as a freshman but made the team as a sophomore,’’ Goldberg noted. “She loves the game and puts forth great effort. Meghan has good knowledge of the sport and is fundamentally sound in all areas.’’
Goldberg isn’t sure how much KP’s foes have improved or how much talent will be on hand but he puts Taunton, Canton and Franklin in the mix for the league crown. “They’ll be contenders,’’ he said. “They’re traditionally strong.’’
A strong asset for the Warriors is volunteer coach Gary Primavera, who’s assisted Goldberg’s varsity for five years. “Gary plays, teaches and coaches tennis,’’ Goldberg said. “He played a key role in helping us win the league title last year.’’
Relying on a competitive philosophy of playing hard to win, reaching one’s potential and having fun are the tenets of Goldberg’s coaching approach. He also stresses to his players that sports can teach valuable life lessons.
“When you play tennis, or any sport, you learn commitment and how to be resilient,’’ he emphasized. “You learn not to give up. When I assemble a roster, I look for mental toughness and resiliency. I want players who are able to shrug off disappointment.’’
Bob Goldberg obviously has a winning formula. Qualifying for tournament play 39 times in 45 years is a testament to recognizing the ingredients for success, on and off the court.