Losing seven seniors is always tough for any program. But for Tippecanoe boys’ tennis coach Kaci Matthews, she couldn’t be in a better situation. The Red Devils are stocked with young player who are getting better seemingly everyday.
The Red Devils disposed of Stebbins last week 4-1 at Schroeder Tennis Center, and Matthews was pleased with how her team battled.
First singles Colin Achterberg won at first singles 6-3, 6-1 and third singles player David Schininger cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 win to give the Red Devils a pair of singles victories, Tipp’s second singles player Evan Hill lost his match.
“Colin has done a fantastic job this season, and when we started, I didn’t know what to really expect,” Matthews said, stating that Achterberg moved all the way up from the junior varsity team last season to the number one varsity spot this year. “He played doubles last season, and he was a wild card for us. He has stepped up and put a lot of time into his tennis in the off-season.”
“It was fun to watch him this year, go from being a young player this year to one who is seasoned.”
Hill is the only returning varsity player this year, and has carried the weight at second singles this season.
“We had to ask him to step up and ask him to do more than play doubles like he did in the past, but we asked him to win crucial matches at second singles,” Matthews said. “He has a win to win, but we have transitioned into being a good singles player.”
Third singles player Shininger is only a freshman, but Matthews sees a bright future in him.
“He has never picked up a racket before this year,” the Tipp coach said. “He is a very good athlete and a hockey player. He is a competitor. He is able to work himself up halfway through the season of his first year competing at a varsity level.”
At first doubles, Noah Blake and Ian Stewart won 6-0, 6-2 and at second doubles Christian Blake and Zach Laymon won 6-1, 6-2.
“Noah was on JV last year and Ian did not play for me as a freshman last season,” Matthews said. “Both are critical parts of this team.”
Christian Blake normally teams with Levi Berning at second doubles but he had to miss this match. Both players did not play last season and have vastly improved their games.
“Our guys are doing what we talk about and taking control of the court right from the beginning,” Matthews said. “If we played well, we knew we had a chance to take it. We believe that from the very start of the game, if we take control of the game early, that is an intimidation factor. It helps the kids mentally also if we are ready to play.”
“We have seen so much improvement from day one until today, I can only imagine if they continue working hard in the offseason with their tennis, what we will be like next year.”
Also last week, Tipp lost 5-0 to Troy, and defeated Piqua 5-0.
Tipp is 7-7 on the season, and looks to make some noise in the upcoming postseason tournament.