Northeast Dubois tennis aiming for team consistency

Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald
Tucker Neukam is a returning senior for Northeast Dubois tennis this year.

BY JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

DUBOIS — The Northeast Dubois boys tennis team went on quite a roll last season on the way to the sectional finals. The good times came to a halt against Loogootee, but No. 1 singles player Reece Bauer and the No. 1 doubles team of Ethan Ziegler and Luke Harder all picked up individual sectional titles on the way to regionals. Jeeps coach Dwayne Knies said the Lions were simply better the day they played them in sectionals, but he was still proud of his boys and thought the individual sectionals were a nice way to cap the season.

“It was nice to have Reece, Ethan and Luke advance,” he said. “Overall, I was really pleased with the season.”

Bauer, Ziegler and Harder have all graduated, so Knies is challenged with finding the players that will fill in those top spots. That said, he’s confident in the boys who are emerging, and thinks they can step up to fill those holes in the lineup. The Jeeps return varsity experience in seniors Tucker Neukam (No. 3 singles), Tanner Hurt (No. 2 doubles) and Ross Mehringer (No. 2 doubles), and junior Aden Thewes (No. 2 singles). Senior Logan Lampert, junior Nick Hemmerlein and a handful of sophomores could also find themselves in the mix this season.

“It’s a great group of seniors, and I think they’ll do a great job leading our team this year,” Knies said. “We have a lot of depth this year. Several of the boys have played on their own the past few months. I feel really good about what we have.”

Consistency is the main key Knies wants his players to focus on as they prepare to open against Southridge on Aug. 18. He also wants aggressive doubles players who will attack the net and dominate points. Another thing he wants the team to develop is the confidence and toughness necessary to win points in tight matches.

“A lot of these guys have good strokes,” Knies said. “And a lot of times it just comes down to a point here or point there. You just got to tough it out and find a way. We stress that a lot when we’re practicing. That will be a big key for us.”

Knies expects the Jeeps to continue bringing a high level of competition to the courts this fall. Their goal is another trip back to the sectional final, and the Jeeps plan on bringing their “A” game to every match along the way.

“Going into these matches this year, we feel like we’re going to be able to compete with everybody,” Knies said. “As we go through the season we want to get better and be playing our best tennis by the end of the year.”




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