Logansport’s boys tennis team is entering the season with some question marks. Coach Mike Montgomery is hoping by the end of the season his squad has the answers when it will attempt to win a seventh sectional title in a row.
The Logan coach said he doesn’t have a set lineup entering the season. He said the only sure things look to be junior Bryan Zehner at No. 1 singles and senior Cory Rozzi at No. 2 singles.
Zehner missed most of last season with a foot injury, playing only at the beginning and end of the year. Last season Logan’s three starting singles players, Zehner, Rozzi and Austin Johanning, were all close to being equal players according to Montgomery.
The Logan coach said Zehner has put in a lot of time in the offseason and is shooting to have a big season.
“He’s developed quite a bit in his game. He’s played a lot,” Montgomery said. “He’s the one kid we have that tennis is what he does. He doesn’t play any other sport.”
Zehner has improved enough over the last year that Montgomery thinks he has a shot of going undefeated in No. 1 singles play this season.
Rozzi concentrates on mostly baseball in the summer but has already experienced quite a bit of success in varsity tennis, and Montgomery is expecting a lot from him as well.
“Cory has a chance to win 50 singles matches in his career, which might make him the first from Logan to do so since Scott Montgomery. Not many players have played three years of singles. He won the most matches of our team as a sophomore. He won 16 or 17 matches last year. He has 36 career wins. There can’t be many in the history of Logan to win 50 singles matches in their career. I expect him to win at No. 2 singles about 90 percent of the time,” Montgomery said.
The question marks for Logan are at the other three spots. Dustin Clements played at No. 1 doubles last season and could return there or play at No. 3 singles. He’s played baseball all summer with Hoosier North and played in the Colt World Series last weekend.
“I’m hoping he gets enough practices in to start the season the first match,” Montgomery said. “He went to three morning practices last week and I think it was the first three times he’s picked up a racket this year. But he’s a good enough athlete and he’ll get better as the year goes on. He’s going to play somewhere.”
Owen Swartzell was a starter last year at No. 2 doubles and could play either at No. 1 doubles or No. 3 singles this season.
Luke Vernon, who saw some varsity time last season, is in the mix for a varsity spot, as is Nathaniel King, Lucas Eastburn, Kaleb Overway and Zach Overway.
Montgomery is hoping his squad can improve on its 14-6 record of a year ago and 4-3 mark in the North Central Conference.
“I expect to be as good as last year record-wise,” he said. “I would like to finally somehow figure out a way to beat Marion or Kokomo in the conference. We haven’t figured out a way to do that in recent years. Kokomo looks to be strong again. They return the majority of their kids. … Marion lost their all-state player at No. 1 singles but are solid all the way through their lineup.”
The Logan coach thinks Lewis Cass will be the main threat in sectional play.
“I think Cass thinks they’ve got a real good shot,” he said. “We were better in the singles spots last year. We’ve got to find someone to play in some spots. That’s all up in the air right now.”
Logan and Cass square off in a season-opening match Aug. 15 at the LHS courts.
The Kings went 8-9 a year ago, struggling a bit at the singles spots but winning a vast majority of their doubles matches.
Gone are the regional-qualifying No. 1 doubles team of Tyler Ploss and Isaac Yentes to graduation, but coach Brian Thomas said he’s got another strong top doubles team this year in Ryan Aldridge and Riley Johnson.
“They have a more aggressive strategy,” the Cass coach said. “Ryan is 6-5 and Riley is 6-2. It’s hard to get it past them.
“These guys are a more smash-mouth type of doubles team. They serve hard and their ground strokes are hard. They’re working on their net play to dominate up front.”
Thomas said the starting singles players look to be Brady Truman, Nick Jackson and Brennen Garland. Jake Gremelspacher will get a look at No. 2 doubles, and several other players will as well according to the Cass coach, including freshman Nolan Lowe.
“We have 13 boys, and 10 legitimately have an excuse to be playing varsity,” Thomas said. “We’ll give 10 a chance. We’ll use the season to find a lineup for the sectional and try to finally get over the hump and win a boys tennis sectional title for the first time.”