Dubois tennis has experience, fresh facesMarch 30, 2020
By JONATHAN SAXON
DUBOIS — Northeast Dubois girls tennis coach Tina Terwiske is worried about her players.
There’s the obvious health and safety concerns now that COVID-19 has arrived in Dubois County, but she’s also worried about how her players and students are processing the world around them as everything comes to a stop.
“I worry about the kids’ mental state,” she said. “What are they thinking at 16, 17 and 18 (years old)? I teach 11 and 12 year-olds. What are they thinking about all of this? This is not normal. This is something I never dreamed of. This is a tough one to look at knowing there’s so much up in the air. I’ve been in touch with the girls every couple of days just to (let them) know we’re still planning a season.”
The potential consequences of a lost season also weigh heavily on Terwiske’s mind as she waits to see what happens next. She has a team loaded with upperclassmen, a position she hasn’t been in for a few seasons. While it’s nice to have that much experience, Terwiske also needs this season to develop her four incoming freshmen so the Jeeps can stay competitive after the seniors graduate. She has some experience working with a couple of them at the middle school level, but she was hoping to use the early portion of official practices to see what they can do at the high school level. This season was supposed to be as much about building for the future as it is competing in the present.
“We needed to get them prepared for the long-term,” said Terwiske. “We’ve got three solid varsity spots that we’ve had for four years that are going to be open. It was important to get this year going for the future of Northeast Dubois tennis. For them to possibly not have a freshman season, it just makes it tougher.”
Elizabeth Schepers and Sydney Roach come in with the most experience as both played four years of middle school tennis. Reagan Knies doesn’t have prior tennis experience, but her natural athleticism interests Terwiske and has shown some natural instincts for the sport. Jessa Braunecker, who also has a bit of middle school experience, rounds out the freshmen. Right now, Terwiske is thinking the freshmen players could be good fits at the doubles or No. 3 singles positions, but she can’t work that out until the Jeeps are able to resume official practices.
The Jeeps return their top two singles players in senior Chloe Terwiske and junior Olivia Rasche. Chloe, who committed to playing college tennis at Midway University (Ky.), will be at No. 1 singles, where she’s gone unbeaten in the regular season for three years. She also won an individual sectional title and made it to regionals in the individual state tournament last season. Rasche will pick up where she left off at No. 2. Singles. Seniors Alexis Stafford and Olivia Schroering both played at doubles last season, but one of them could be moved to the No. 3 singles slot.
“We’re going to have to do some shuffling,” said Terwiske, who’ll have limited time to fill in the rest of the varisty lineup, even with the normal 10-practice requirement getting reduced to five this season. “It’s going to be some long practice days that first week. It’s going to be less about match-play and more about situations. We really have to focus on who’s going to fill in those doubles and that three singles spot.””
The Jeeps’ big team goals are defending their Blue Chip Conference and sectional titles if they get a chance to play. But Terwiske also wants to keep up the tradition of sportsmanship and positivity that permeates the Jeeps’ courts. She wants the girls to play to the best of their abilities and be competitive in matches, but above all, she wants tennis to be a positive experience for the players and a way to reclaim a sense of normalcy in their lives.
“We put our best foot forward when we’re out there playing,” said Terwiske. “And we’re keeping it positive. We like to have a good time. It’s been a super positive group of girls, and we want them to finish on that same note. We just want to make the most we can of this season. They need to be able to get back to their lives again.”
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