By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Graduation took a very experienced No. 1 doubles team and has left Goshen High School boys tennis coach Daniel Love with some juggling to do for the current season.
Sylas Buller and Sam Stegelmann made up the top doubles team for the Redskins in 2012.
“We are trying to figure out the doubles situation,” the coach said. “Buller and Stegelmann were all-NLC. We are going to miss their leadership.”
Four letterwinners are back from a squad that posted a 9-11 record last season. The veterans are seniors Derick Hostetler and Austin Stutzman, junior Zach Ganger and sophomore Hudson Kay.
To start the season Kay is slotted at No. 1 singles and Stutzman No. 2.
“Kay played No. 3 singles last season,” Love said. “He has worked really hard on his game and is showing a lot of improvement. Kay is very steady. He really doesn’t have ups and downs. Day in and day out we know what we have with him.
“There is still some work he needs to do. He has to work on dictating points and being more aggressive. It’s a whole new level at No. 1. There are no easy matches. Every team has at least one good player.”
Stutzman was in the No. 1 spot for the Redskins last season.
“His game has improved,” the coach said. “That may be hard to believe when he is moving down in the lineup, but that is the case. He has added some weapons to his game. He has a good first serve. His backhand has improved and an opponent can no longer go there to get a point.
“Kay and Stutzman have had some close challenge matches.”
Goshen opened the season with a 4-1 win over Mishawaka Marian on Monday and a ? at West Noble on Tuesday.
Sophomore Luke Rush is expected to be at No. 3 singles.
“He was our No. 1 singles on the JV last season,” Love said. “There is a chance he could be in the mixture for our doubles teams.”
Besides Rush others competing for doubles spots are Hostetler, Ganger, junior Zach Troyer, junior Andrew Vetter, junior Peter Vukovich and freshman Logan Troyer.
“Doubles is about chemistry and communication on the court,” Love said. “We will have to see who is playing well together. It may take us some matches before we make decisions. There is only so much you can learn from challenge matches against your teammates.”
Additional sophomores on the roster are Giovanni Aguayo, Evan Beck, Corbin Harrison, Drake Hostetler, Dirk Oyer and Andrew Weddle.
Freshmen are Hugh Birky, Jacob Grewe, Evan Krabill, Oscar Peterson-Veatch and Aidan Strite.
“Our depth should be a strong point,” Love said. “There is not a lot of separation among our players. Last season our No. 1 doubles team was clearly above our No. 2 team. I don’t think that will be the case this season. It’s good for the future of the program. Competition can be a good thing.
“We have 20 guys out. We are trying to build the program through the one at the middle school.”
Love expects another tough season in the NLC.
“Warsaw is the defending champion and they have a good group of core players back,” the coach said. “Concord has its No. 1 singles player back and Plymouth is always tough.
“There are no easy matches in the NLC.”
Mark Saner is back as the assistant coach.
Managers are Ali Miller, Alexis Johnston, Kathleeen Morrical and Adolfo Rodriguez.