Jeeps tennis turns to new pieces

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Northeast Dubois has only two girls tennis players with previous varsity experience. One of them is senior Courtney Vittitow, who played No. 3 singles for the Jeeps when they won a sectional championship in 2019.

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

DUBOIS — There’s only two classes of players who will be suiting up for Northeast Dubois girls tennis in 2021 — seniors and sophomores.

The Jeeps boast eight tennis players in total this spring, with five senior girls and another three in their sophomore class. Despite having five seniors, coach Tina Terwiske noted that her team doesn’t have a lot of experience. So, they’ll have a lot of adjustments to make if they want to return to their sectional championship form from 2019.

“We have lost five of our top seven,” Terwiske said. “So, we are rebuilding. You hear that term quite a bit, but we’ve got only two players with varsity experience on our team this year. So, we’ve got a lot of positions to fill in, and getting them back in the swing of things.”

The only players on the roster this year with prior varsity experience are seniors Olivia Rasche and Courtney Vittitow. Rasche had experience as the team’s No. 2 singles player two years ago, while Vittitow competed in the No. 3 singles. However, Terwiske said she wouldn’t mind seeing Vittitow play some doubles in the early going.

Northeast Dubois doesn’t officially have any freshmen on its roster, but Terwiske sees her three sophomores as being like freshmen since they didn’t get to have a 2020 season.

“We will rely on (Rasche and Vittitow), but at this point, it’s going to be all hands on deck,” she said.

Terwiske spoke to the Herald on Mach 24, but Jeeps tennis is starting later this year compared to other teams and other sports. They’ll open Thursday at Crawford County — having focused on challenge matches last week. However, there are still questions to be answered after Terwiske texted an update to the Herald on Monday.

She said Rasche will primarily be the No. 1 singles player. Meanwhile, Vittitow is scheduled to compete with another senior, Gracie Sunderman, to determine the No. 2 singles player. Whoever doesn’t get the No. 2 singles spot will likely play at No. 1 doubles with a sophomore — be it Elizabeth Schepers or Sydney Roach. Those two may be new to the varsity game, but both of them got experience at the junior high level.

“It’s like throwing them in the fire at this point when you’ve got three girls (Schepers, Roach and Jessa Braunecker) that didn’t get their freshman year — and we lost three solid graduates last year, and two the year before,” Terwiske said. “So, they’re filling in some big shoes.”

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down spring sports before the Jeeps ever got an official practice in last year. However, Terwiske said her players across the board have shown improvements. She will look at improvement from the standpoint of a six-week period to get ready for the Blue Chip Conference and sectional matches.

Northeast Dubois will have a lineup in place for Crawford County on Thursday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that lineup will be set in stone. Terwiske said the Jeeps will be looking for adjustments they have to make throughout the first half of the season.

“I don’t know that we’re going to win matches 5-0, but hopefully we’re going to pull some out in some 3-2 or 4-1 position,” she said. “Our main thought is if the girls come out ready to play and play to their potential — and then good things happen. So, that’s what we’re hopeful for.”




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