postseason preview: Defending tennis state champions Huron and Greenhills scrimmage to prepare for postseason
When your team is the four-time defending MHSAA Division 4 boys tennis state champions, it can be difficult to find tough competition. But for Greenhills School head coach Eric Gajar, you need only look down the road.
Two miles away at Huron High School are the defending Division 1 state champion River Rats, which provide a great practice partner around playoff time.
“First of all it’s a great program. Anytime you get a chance to play someone that strong, you put them on the schedule,” Gajar said. “We have the luxury that being in this area, to have all kinds of good options to compete with.”
With the state playoffs set to begin this Thursday, Gajar and his team hosted the Huron last Monday in an effort to get both teams ready to defend their titles.
The two squads have played each other the last few seasons either as part of their regular season or in a scrimmage. Both coaches enjoy the match for the level of competition and for the players on their teams.
“These guys all know each other, they grew up playing in tournaments and they work out at the same club,” Gajar said. “ Stefan teaches a lot of my guys in the off season, I work with some of his guys. It’s just really a nice positive experience.
“This is one of my favorite matches. It’s a great opportunity, and it gets us both ready.”
For a team like Greenhills, getting ready means preparing to win their fifth consecutive championship. The Gryphons have either won or finished as the state runner-up every year since 2006.
Still, Gajar says his team needs to be reminded of the difficult journey ahead.
“Our depth at our division has really carried us for years,” Gajar said. “On paper we’re the team to beat. The fear is that the guys gets a little complacent and that’s another reason why we keep Huron on the schedule.”
That isn’t the case for Huron who is entering the playoffs as one of a handful of teams that are expected to compete for the Division 1 title.
“I think this year there are a bunch of teams at the top that are real close,” Welch said. “Brother Rice and Novi and ourselves, so I think it’s going to come down to whoever plays best that final weekend. Hopefully we’ll be peaking at the right time.”
MHSAA Boys tennis regional playoffs schedule:
AT HURON HIGH SCHOOL
When: Friday, Oct. 12, 9 a.m.
Who: Huron, Pioneer, Skyline, Belleville, Canton, Plymouth, Salem, Monroe, Saline, Temperance Bedford, Lincoln.
AT NORTH FARMINGTON
When: Thursday, Oct. 11, 9 a.m.
Who: Avondale, Bloomfield Hills Andover, Bloomfield Hills Lahser, Dexter, Farmington, Farmington Hills Harrison, North Farmington, Pinckney, Pontiac, South Lyon.
AT CHELSEA HIGH SCHOOL
When: Friday, Oct. 12, 9 a.m.
Who: Adrian, Carleton Airport, Chelsea, Dearborn Heights Robichaud, Grosse Ile, Jackson Northwest, Milan, Parma Western, Riverview Community, South Lyon East, Trenton.
AT GREENHILLS SCHOOL
When: Thursday 9:30 a.m.
Who: Allen Park Cabrini, Father Gabriel Richard, Greenhills, Rudolf Steiner School, Plymouth Christian Academy, Clawson, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central, River Rouge, Royal Oak Shrine Catholic.