Newcomer Kerosky shining for Nordonia boys tennis

Roger Gordon
Correspondent
Nordonia Knights

A year ago, Matt Kerosky had never even picked up a tennis racket.

These days, he is a regular doubles player for Nordonia.

“Tennis was a completely new sport to Matt last year,” head coach Ryan Vehar said of the Knights senior. “I only saw him for four days last year, but even though we had the stoppage of play due to the pandemic, he was like a sponge. Giving him information about how to hit the forehand, the backhand and the serve … within four days he was picking all of that up.

“Matt played with different groups over the summer. We didn’t get to see each other that much because of all the restrictions. I wasn’t able to see much of my team at all. When Matt came back this season, he had learned tennis.

“Pretty much every day, it seems like he picks up a new shot or just kind of figures something else out. I tell him something once, and he applies it to his game. A lot of times, I just let him go out there and kind of do his thing. He has a feel for the game, knows where the ball is going to be and knows where his partner is going to be. And he’s right a lot of times, and therefore he’s already in position. With that anticipation, he’s also quick to the ball and quick to set up for shots. When he’s at the net and any balls come his way, he gets to them and aggressively attacks that ball and puts it into a good position.

“I think some of the other kids are seeing that and the possibilities of the way they can play because they see his aggressiveness,” said Vehar. “There’s no play that’s over if Matt is on the court whether he’s running back and running into the fence or running hard up to the net to get to a ball. He brings a lot of energy.

Kerosky’s partners enjoy playing with him because he has their back.

“Pretty much anybody Matt plays with, he helps bring up the level of his partner,” the coach said. “His partner might go for something, and he’ll be there to back him up. He’ll run around behind him and, instead of the ball dropping and then losing the point, he’s getting to the ball and sending it back to the other side.”

Kerosky had a close victory that was sandwiched by two defeats last week. The win came April 6 at first doubles with freshman Drew Kitzmiller by a 6-4, 7-6 (9-7) count during a 4-1 home loss to Warren Howland.

“The team Matt and Drew played against was a real solid team,” said Vehar.

The day before, on April 5, Kerosky and fellow senior Cole Gabel lost 6-1, 6-1 at number doubles in a 5-0 defeat at Suburban League National Conference rival Twinsburg.

On April 7 during a 5-0 loss at home to National Conference rival Wadsworth, Kerosky and classmate Robin Ghorta fell 6-2, 6-4 at second doubles.

Nordonia slipped to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in the conference.

According to his coach, Kerosky is as focused as could be when he is on the court.

“Matt is trying to learn, he’s trying to hit good shots and he’s trying to make himself better,” he said.

Kerosky could elevate himself to singles competition at some point this season, but for now, Vehar is more than happy with his doubles exploits.

“Matt is pretty comfortable with doubles,” he said. “That’s a good spot for a more inexperienced player because you don’t have those long, long points where you have to sit at the baseline and create shots and things like that. It’s more of, hey, if the opponent gives you that short ball, you go ahead and try to put it away. And since that’s a good part of Matt’s game, that really lends well to him being successful right away at doubles.”

Not bad for someone who, only a year ago, was a novice to the sport.