Brothers at Play in LL Boys Tennis

Ephrata's Chase Wilson, 17, left, with his brother Lance Wilson, 15, and Adam Zimmerman, 18, with his brother Caleb Zimmerman, 15, before a match at Lampeter-Strasburg High School Monday March 29, 2021.

There are two sets of brothers playing for the Ephrata boys tennis team this season. While that means they have some obvious similarities, there are also some differences.

In addition to being brothers on the same team, each set includes one brother who is a senior and one who is a freshman.

But among the differences, Chase Wilson and younger brother Lance have played tennis all their life, while senior Adam Zimmerman and brother Caleb are relatively new to the sport.

And another difference: The Wilsons happen to be coached by their mother, Jody.

“I love spending time on the court with them,” said Jody, who has been a part of the boys’ tennis life since they were little. “It’s amazing.”

Chase is Ephrata’s captain. He earned Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two all-star honors two years ago — the Mountaineers’ 2020 season was canceled after just one scrimmage due to the COVID-19 pandemic — and is the No. 1 player. He’s off to a 4-0 start, having lost just five games in four sets, and has teamed with Lance to go 3-0 in doubles for Ephrata, which is 4-0 overall, 2-0 in Section Two.

Lance is currently playing No. 2 singles and is also 4-0.

“It’s a mental game. If we are up, things are positive. If we’re down, it’s a struggle,” Chase said of playing doubles with his brother. “We need to keep that positive mentality.”

The brothers’ years of experience certainly is a plus on the court, as is their mutual support.

“Since he’s older, I just stay back and let him do what he does,” Lance said. “I try to stay consistent and stay with the point. I might make some suggestions, but he says what’s best for the team.”

“They look after each other,” their mother said. “They’re positive with each other.”

The Zimmerman brothers have a slightly different outlook on the sport as relative newcomers. Adam is playing No. 3 doubles for the varsity while Caleb is playing JV.

“Adam is so athletic,” Jody Wilson said. “It wasn’t hard for him to pick up the game. Caleb doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he will move up.”

“It’s cool. It’s a lot of fun,” Adam Zimmerman said of having his brother on the team. “It’s cool to watch him get better.”

For being in his first year on the high school team, “it’s going pretty good so far,” Caleb said.

All four players were affected by last year’s aborted season, though neither Lance nor Caleb were on the team yet as eighth-graders.

“I was really disappointed I missed my junior season,” Chase Wilson said. “I want to make this season the best one yet.”

But his brother found a bit of a silver lining to missing the season.

“When (Chase) didn’t have his season, I got to practice with him more,” Lance said. “I was really disappointed for him.”

The Zimmermans turned their attention to other activities.

“We do a lot of different stuff,” Adam said. “We race dirt bikes sometimes, so we did that out in the field. We also built some stuff; we built a downhill bike track. We did other things, like playing pingpong, which helped some for tennis. We just tried to have fun.”

While the Zimmermans generally support each other, there is a bit of a sibling rivalry.

“There’s definitely a rivalry, pretty much in everything,” Adam said. “We always want to see who can be the best.”

“I’m not as good as my brother,” Caleb said. “Eventually, maybe.”

As for that prospect, Adam said, “That would be unfortunate.”

So far, though, the Mountaineers seem fortunate to have both sets of brothers on their team.

Good starts

While the Wilsons and Zimmermans have helped Ephrata get off to a 4-0 start, there are certainly other teams who have done well in the young season. But there are only two other teams so far that are unbeaten overall.

Penn Manor is 5-0 and 2-0 in Section One. The Comets have a big match Wednesday at defending league champion Cedar Crest, which is also 2-0 in the section, 4-1 overall.

In Section Three, Lancaster Catholic is 6-0, 3-0, including a 6-1 win over one of the section favorites, Pequea Valley, on March 25.

Early season showdown

In that Lancaster Catholic-Pequea Valley matchup, the lone point for the Braves came from Brady Burns at No. 1 singles. He defeated 2019 L-L Class 2A runner-up Brendan McNamara 6-2, 6-2. McNamara had defeated Burns in the semifinals in 2019 — the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Burns was the 2018 L-L 2A champion.


Philip Glatfelter is an LNP | LancasterOnline correspondent who covers L-L bowling. Email him via sports@lnpnews.com.

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