LA PORTE

Last year: 16-6, lost in La Porte Sectional semifinals to New Prairie, 3-2

Key players lost: None

Key players returning: Andy Emmons, Sr.; Tristen Poe, Sr.; Liam Wolf, So.; Alex Ake, Jr.; Graham Siefker, Jr.; Carson Stalbaum, Jr. 

Key newcomers: Brock Schultz, Fr.

Outlook: With every player back, there are some lofty expectations for the Slicers. They're welcoming the challenge and are confident in their abilities. “Absolutely, it's definitely fantastic,” La Porte coach Don Varda. "They've got a lot more experience. They've played USTA tournaments over the summer. Another year is just a huge thing. You have everybody who's been through that grind together as a team. Now they get to come back and do it again with more experience and more skill." While Emmons will probably play No. 1 singles, the other spots are undecided, according to Varda. Poe, Wolf, Ake, Siefker, and Stalbaum, as well as the freshman Schultz will vie for those positions. Quentin Spears suffered a serious knee injury and it's unknown whether he'll return this year. “We have great leadership and will be very competitive,” Varda said. The Slicers are hoping to atone for last year's sectional semifinal loss to county foe New Prairie on their home court.

MARQUETTE CATHOLIC

Last year: 3-9, lost to Michigan City 5-0 in La Porte Sectional semifinals

Key losses: Reagan Hendricks (three singles)

Key returners: Sean Bardol, Jr.; Cormack Bardol, Sr.; Colin Thompson, So.; Riggs Bardol, So.; Aidan McDonnell, Sr.; Brendan Mack, Jr.; Noah Wadle, Jr.

Key newcomers: None

Outlook: New coach Earl Cunningham has almost the entire roster back, but there's no margin for error at the moment with just seven players as he looks to pick up a few more. Sean leads the way for the Bardol brothers with Cormack following at two singles and Riggs likely playing doubles. McDonnell will float between three singles and one doubles with the others mixing and matching in doubles to see what works best. Emily Silvas from the girls team is the manager, providing stiff practice competition.

MICHIGAN CITY

Last year: Lost to New Prairie 5-0 in La Porte Sectional final

Key losses: Devon Stromer, Christoph Walker, Danny Walker, Tommy Komay

Key returners: John Bruning, Sr.; Connor Reynolds, Sr.; Lucas White, Jr.

Key newcomers: Ryan Cima, Fr.; Kyle Yackus, Fr.; Reagan Hendricks

Outlook: The Wolves graduated four starters and had another not return to the team. The roster of 17 is City's largest in years, but five or six of them are brand new to tennis. "It has been a really fun practice season so far," coach Mike Tsugawa said. "We have a good bunch of freshmen, some who are athletes, and some with playing experience. New assistant coach Brad Sebert worked with a number of these kids in the middle school program, and we are beginning to see the benefits of that feeder program. There is a lot to learn and the kids are getting better daily."  Bruning contributed in doubles as a junior and Reynolds, a co-captain, played three singles at the end of last season. White has some singles experience, but is expected to hold down a double spot. Hendricks, who played at Marquette last season, will battle with returners Josiah Miller, Dante Morland and Luke Poulin. "We will have to learn as we go, and may take some lumps early on," Tsugawa said. "Our goal is to improve every week, and be competitive by sectionals." 

NEW PRAIRIE

Last year: 19-4, La Porte Sectional champion

Key losses: Levi Britton/Joe Henning (All-District one doubles team), Isaac Kuczmanski (two singles)

Key returners: Josh Ferrell, Jr.; Colten Kitchen, Jr.; Wrigley Hemphill, Jr.; Nick Boyd, So.

Key newcomers: Wreese Hemphill, Sr.; Nathan Middlebrooke, Sr.; Jacob Hannon, Jr.

Outlook: Coming off the program's best record, its first sectional title, the New Prairie Invite championship and the South Division crown in the Northern Indiana Conference, the Cougars return four starters. We will play one match at a time and see where it leads us," coach Joel Hostetler said. "The less experienced players will have to get better quickly and our veterans will have to carry the load for the early part of the season." Boyd, Wrigley Hemphill and Hannon manned the singles spots in the team's opener, a 4-1 win over Highland, with Ferrell and Kitchen at one doubles and Wreese Hemphill and Haydon Houser at two.

— Compiled by Zack Eldridge and Jim Peters

 

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.