Raider boys tennis excited about depthAugust 7, 2020
By JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — Southridge boys tennis coach Paul Kinker felt that last year was a “turning point season” for the Raiders. They produced one of their best seasons ever, and, despite getting swept by the Jasper Wildcats during sectionals, Kinker believes last year’s experience sets the Raiders up for more success this fall.
“12-5 is one of the best records we’ve had in a long time,” he said. “All the players that played in the sectional are coming back. That’s 11 people who are very capable of playing at the varsity level. That’s encouraging.”
The Raiders only graduated one senior from last year’s team, and Kinker is excited about the depth he has to choose from to pick his lineup. Senior Austin Barkley is the returning No. 1 singles player, and he’s put in a ton of time in the offseason to get better. He’s working on planning his shots better to maximize his court effect. The Raiders also bring back junior No. 3 singles player Max Rasche and both doubles teams with the senior quartet of Sam Sermersheim, Ethan Bell, Konner Thyen and Levi Schaeffer. Kinker also thinks the sophomores like Brice King, Mick Uebelhor and Kyan Thyen could compete for some of the open spots during the season.
Kinker wants to focus on serving, particularly second serves, to help the Raiders move forward. He also thinks raising the team’s conditioning level will help them outlast their opponents during longer matches and wants the doubles teams to get better playing at the net.
“Our second serve was a little weaker than I wanted,” he said. “I’ve seen during open courts it’s gotten much better than what we were doing last year. Our second-service game, conditioning to last the three-setter matches and being more aggressive at our net play during our doubles, those are the things I’ve seen during the last couple of weeks that we need to (improve).”
The Raiders begin their season Aug. 17 against Boonville, and Kinker thinks the team’s packed schedule will have them trending at the right time going into sectional. He can’t wait to continue building on what the Raiders started last fall.
“I think we’ll be extremely competitive throughout the season,” said Kinker. “We have a lot of experience and I’m counting on that this year.”
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