Duneland Athletic Conference
Players to watch: Michael Clemens, Jr.; Max Kerr, Sr.; Jack McCrum, Sr.; Trey Moffitt, Sr.; Adam Scheerer, Jr.
Outlook: The Trojans return five players from last season's starting lineup, including four seniors. With that experience, Chesterton could be a bigger force in the league this season.
Quote: "We think we can do more this season. The key is to work in the offseason and come back with improvements. That appears to be the case." !~ Coach Randy Johnson.
Players to watch: Daniel Smith, Sr.; Paul Kindall, Sr.; Patrick Mudd, Jr.
Outlook: Fourth-year coach Chris Korzeniewski has his main players back from impressive three-peat sectional championships. With another year of tough DAC competition under their belt, this team hopes to make some noise in the regionals. The Bulldogs host an early invite that will provide a good test against the likes of Griffith, Rensselaer and Kankakee Valley.
Quote: "We have a lot of depth and experience this season, and you can see it daily in practice and challenge matches. I expect this team to be able to protect the legacy of three straight sectional championships." !~ Korzeniewski
Players to watch: Thomas Lozanoski, Sr., John Hammerling, Sr., Matt Falcone, Sr., Chuckie Sayger, Sr.
Outlook: The Indians had a great season under rookie coach Eric Stark, going 12-5 (6-1). With 12 seniors on this year's roster, Stark has his team shooting for a DAC crown and a sectional championship. Stark played on the last L.C. sectional champ in 2004.
Quote: "With the group of talented and athletic seniors we have, it's been tough to pick the last two or three varsity players. Our depth is a good problem to have. We will rotate some of the guys until we figure out the best lineup." !~ Stark
Players to watch: Michael Varda, Fr.; Mike Curtis, Sr.; Bryce Goetz, Sr.; Carter Perry, Sr.
Outlook: This could be one of coach Bill Reed's best teams in his 22 years at the helm. Perry is back at No. 1 singles. Goetz and Curtis won 20-plus matches at No. 1 doubles, including a perfect mark in the DAC. Add in Barda, who is nationally rated in the boys 14 rankings. Barda lost 5-4 in challenge matches to Perry, so the Slicers seem formidable in several spots.
Quote: (Barda) is the best freshman I've had here, and that's probably the strongest doubles team I've coached. With a little luck, we could go down to state." !~ Reed
Players to watch: Leonard Mathews, Sr.
Outlook: The Pirates hope to rebound from a disappointing 2010 campaign that saw them finish with a 2-5 DAC record. Mathews, who made it to the regional finals in the individual tournament last year, will once again be asked to lead the team through the tough Duneland schedule.
Quote: "We will have some very solid play at two spots, and a little more inconsistency at the other three. At times we will struggle for that third point, depending on the competition. We need to win more of those close matches this year." !~ Coach James Simon
Players to watch: Jeff Holt, Sr.; Josh Palmer, Jr.; Brad Sebert, Sr.
Outlook: The Wolves lost four starters to graduation, so this will probably be another rebuilding year.
Quote: "We don't have any freshmen (on the roster), which is a worry." !~ Coach Mike Tsugawa
Players to watch: Patrick Derr, Jr.; Zac Lundy, Sr.; Shub Multani, Sr.
Outlook: The Indians lost their top-two singles players to graduation, but sophomore John Fannin and juniors Zach Smith, Tyler Soberg and Jeff McElfresh could help fill some holes in the lineup.
Quote: "I think we've come a long way, but we have to see who can play under pressure. I might not be settled with my lineup for a while." !~ Coach Gary Hayes
Players to watch: Tyler Costas, Jr.; Adam Crookston, Sr.; Quinn Donnell, Sr.; Ben Kalisch, Jr.; Marty Pochop, Jr.
Outlook: Four-year No. 1 singles player Marc Shideler is now at Western Michigan, but the Vikings will return five starters from last year's state-quarterfinal lineup.
Quote: "We had some key losses, but I still feel pretty confident about our lineup. We're still a pretty solid team." !~ Coach Tim Shideler
Greater South Shore Conference
Players to watch: Peter Larson, Sr.; Nick Skurka, Sr.; Spencer Hickey, So.
Outlook: Coach Steve Tapia has quietly built a quality program at Noll, winning four straight sectional titles. This year the Warriors will be led by mostly seniors who have played for Tapia since middle school. The goal this season is to reverse two straight 3-2 losses to Wheeler that cost the Warriors the conference crowns.
Quote: "We want to win our conference this year, and then we want to win another sectional title. Both goals are very important to us, and both are reachable. This is a very tough, determined team." !~ Tapia
Players to watch: Phillip Sopariz, Sr., Jarret Taborski, Jr., Steve Doran, Jr.
Outlook: The Warriors are coming off a season where they lost all-conference player Jeff Stooksbury and longtime coach Jerry Tauber. Former Warrior Crystal Ham has taken over the coaching duties. With only eight to nine boys coming out to practice on a regular basis, Ham plans to conduct more recruiting once school starts.
Quote: "Being in the GSSC provides a good level of competition for our program. We need to get a few more boys out so we have a full varsity and JV squad." !~ Ham
Outlook: Girls tennis and basketball coach Kristie Hite takes over the boys program this season. Last year's main players Jake Taylor and Dustin Alcorn graduated, leaving a big hole for the Eagles to fill. Hite will be busy using her recruiting skills to plug the holes at the beginning of the year.The Eagles want to give arch-rival River Forest a run for the sectional.
Players to watch: John Henry Papineau, Jr.; Quinn Porter, Jr.
Outlook: Former Boone Grove coach Jay Adams is the new coach for the Blazers. Freshmen Nate Sands, Hunter Moldenauer and Justin Smith give this roster a boost.
Quote: "Anytime a new coach comes in, it's a rebuilding year. I still think our team will be better this year." !~ Adams
Players to watch: Brian Breese, Sr., Anthony Gonzalez, Sr., Michael Bach, Jr.
Outlook: Beau Bruemmer, son of retired Michigan City coach Norm, takes over the helm for the boys squad this season. The Ingots have had the whole varsity roster attending voluntary workouts since July, so they come into the season primed to defend their sectional title. Bruemmer wants to make some noise in conference play this year.
Quote: "We feel pretty good about where we are at as a team right now. Everyone has been playing together through the summer, learning their roles and what I expect out of them. Winning sectional is one goal -- advancing in the regional is another." !~ Bruemmer
Players to watch: Alex Dials, Sr.; Drew Heinold, Jr.; Jack Hibbard, Fr.
Outlook: Heinold was at No. 1 singles last season. Dials, who spent a year in Germany, was the No. 1 singles player two seasons ago. Add in Hibbard, and the Bearcats should have a solid singles lineup.
Quote: "My team is going to be pretty strong this year." !~ Coach Mike Rosta
Great Lakes Athletics Conference
Player to watch: Chris Miller, Sr., Steven Garza, Sr., James Murzyn, So.
Outlook: The Pioneers have a group of five to six seniors to help first-year coach Donte Pryor this season. Miller and Garza will anchor the top singles spots. Pryor has put the focus on fundamentals and eliminating unforced errors.
Quote: "We want to play well and improve each match. These kids are working incredibly hard, both mentally and physically. They are a talented group, and I think we can do pretty well." !~ Pryor
Players to watch: John Nicksic, Sr., Ben Garrison, Sr., Ryan Merrill, Sr.
Outlook: The Gladiators graduated their entire varsity roster - 12 players in all. Coach Sharon Meier has a major rebuilding effort on her hands. The majority of the boys who came out have little or no experience.
Quote: "We are a work in progress this season. We have a good nucleus of seniors and some athletic underclassmen who want to learn. They have a great never-say-die attitude, and I think that's going to help a lot." !~ Meier
Players to watch: Ryan Robinson, Sr., Michael Rangel, Jr., Michael Hernandez, Jr.
Outlook: The Governors ruled last season, winning both the GLAC conference crown and the City Tournament. Former player Chuck Perez and his doubles partner Jose Mirales have taken over the coaching duties. The returning upperclassmen bring back experience and ability to a team that could repeat in both categories.
Quote: "Our goals are to have a winning season and make a run at the city tournament. We're in a new sectional and should have a good shot at that as well. We need to focus on where we can measure our improvement." !~ Perez
Northwest Crossroads Conference
Players to watch: Jake McCoy, Sr., Anthony Zaleski, So., Michael Kinasieisicz, Fr.
Outlook: Coach Donn Gobbie is in his second year of rebuilding the 59ers tennis program. This year he has five boys out at practice on a regular basis, so a priority is recruiting once school starts.
Quote: "We have a lot of inexperience this year, and we'll have to live with that. We'll focus on overall improvement this season while we try to expand our team depth." !~ Gobbie
Players to watch: Garrett Litke, Sr.; Kodie Hayes, Sr., Jordan Long, Jr., Brett Tauber, Fr.
Outlook: Last season, the Panthers sported a .500 record and a sectional finals appearance. They return several experienced players, including all-conference Litke, to go along with a mix of newcomers. Coach Tracy Sines likes the depth and the athleticism on the court this season.
Quote: "We did better than we expected last season, and that gives us a lot of optimism for this year. We have more depth and less of a talent drop-off. The guys worked really hard this summer, and we developed some strong chemistry." !~ Sines
Players to watch: Jarhett Adams, Sr., Kevin Schwartz, Sr., Aaron McFarland, Jr., Jeff Michner, So.
Outlook: The Trojans went 14-6 last season, then won their own sectional for the seventh straight time. However, they lost five varsity players to graduation and start the year with very little varsity experience. Coach Adam Baez is doing some mixing and matching to see if he can come up with a stronger team for the conference and postseason run.
Quote: "This is going to be an interesting season for us. We have a lot of upperclassmen, but they don't have a lot of varsity experience. We're in a tougher sectional (Munster) this season, so we are going to have to come together as a team to make a strong run." !~ Baez
Players to watch: Chris Moore, Sr., Bobby Eberle, Jr., Mike Bachman, Jr., Hunter McCollum, Fr.
Outlook: Former assistant Dave Cafmeyer takes over the head coaching duties for the boys squad. He inherits a team that lost 10 seniors, six of them starters, to graduation. The Brickies are back-to-back sectional champs, but a three-peat will be a challenge with such a young and inexperienced squad.
Quote: "We hope to have a solid season with steady improvement. We might start a little slow, but we hope to improve every match going forward. We want to be competitive in the conference, and we want to repeat as sectional champs." !~ Cafmeyer
Player to watch: Luke Sanderson, So.
Outlook: The Kougars are led by stud Luke Sanderson, arguably one of the top-three players in Northern Indiana. The Kougars hope to surround Sanderson with a solid supporting cast that can pull out some victories in a very tough conference. Coach Dan Roberts is juggling several players in order to find the right chemistry.
Quote: "Luke makes us a much better team, no doubt, but we still have to get three points to get a win. As a team, we are working hard to match players to the right spots so we can win on a consistent basis. That's our goal -- team wins." !~ Roberts
Players to watch: Harris Rosenbalm, Sr., Ryan Wieser, Sr., Brian Lubert, Sr.
Outlook: The Red Devils have gone through many growing pains the past three two seasons, totaling seven team wins. This year, coach Dustin Hudak believes they will have much better results with seniors Rosenbalm and Wieser leading a young but athletic group. Playing in three tournaments should help the team escalate their level of play early on.
Quote: "This should be a much better year for us. This group has learned how to play team tennis. We hope to be able to improve on our win total and get a win or two in the sectional." !~ Hudak
Players to watch: Jack Heiniger, Jr., Ryan Heuer, Sr., Michael Kitchell, Jr.
Outlook: The Mustangs are going to be very interesting to watch -- coming off of a third consecutive Elite Eight state tournament appearance, while feeling the loss of their top-two starting seniors. Where will it all lead? At least to a semistate battle, and don't be surprised if they make reservations for Indianapolis.
Quote: "Our goals never change. We plan step-by-step, through sectionals, regionals, semistate and down to the show. We want to be the team that represents Northwest Indiana tennis downstate, year after year." !~ coach Steve Lopez
Players to watch: Lewis Santiago, Sr., Robert Collins, So.
Outlook: Coach Ashley Cherry is in her second season for the Hornets. She lost five seniors to graduation, and, as a result, has a small summer squad. When school starts next week, Cherry will have another chance to recruit players. It's a slow uphill process at Wallace, but it's headed in the right direction.
Outlook: Coach Carole Williams, starting her 16th season, faces her biggest challenge yet. All 10 players off of last year's conference championship team graduated, leaving the cupboard bare this summer.
Quote: "We have a long winning tradition here at Roosevelt. I am confident that once school starts and I get an opportunity to recruit, we will be able to field a competitive team of athletic players." !~ Williams
Player to watch: Symeon Colquitt, Jr., Shawn Dukes, So.
Outlook: Coach Matt Adams lost four varsity players to graduation and is left with two returnees. Adams will hit the recruiting trail next week when school starts. His plan includes trying to get athletes who can use tennis for their offseason conditioning.
Quote: "We're working on fundamentals, strengthening skill sets. As we add players during the season, we will have different levels of experience. We will try to get everyone to the next step. We'd like to knock off Roosevelt and steal the conference title." !~ Adams
EAST CHICAGO CENTRAL
Players to watch: Armando Nunez, Sr., Guillermo Cabrerra, So.
Outlook: After going 12-6 last season, and making the sectional finals, the Cardinals graduated six of their seven varsity players. Coach Dave Lane has 11 boys out, but only two of them have any experience from last season. Nunez, the only senior, will be captain and mentor to an inexperienced rebuilding squad.
Quote: "We have a very young and inexperienced group to build on. Armando will play a major role in teaching these new guys the Cardinal way. We lost in the sectional semifinal last year to Noll, and we'd like to get back there for another shot." !~ Lane
Players to watch: Griffin Kanne, Sr., Matt Haun, Sr., Trent Junk, Sr.
Outlook: The Bombers have eight players, four of them seniors with experience. Kanne, Haun and Junk will be counted on to provide leadership as well as consistency. Coach Dan Hawthorn wants to build on last year's momentum and reach .500 this season. The tough play in the Hoosier Conference should help the team prepare for the challenging Crown Point sectional.
Quote: "We have increased our numbers three years in a row, which is really helping our competitiveness. We're hoping to get a few more conference wins and provide some tough competition at sectional time." !~ Hawthorn