Looking at the high level of tennis Munster sophomore Trey DeLuna is playing at No. 2 singles, it's hard to fathom that he began last season and even the beginning of this season buried on the depth chart.
DeLuna played all last season on the junior varsity squad as a freshman and opened this season as the No. 1 singles player on the JV.
Munster coach Steve Lopez inserted him into the No. 3 singles spot in the second match of the season against Valparaiso.
Then, DeLuna was inserted into the No. 1 doubles spot with teammate Patrick Toth. After mixed success there, DeLuna switched positions with Arlo Detmer and has found a home at No. 2 singles.
"He was probably suited more to the singles game," Lopez said, adding that Detmer and Toth got stronger at No. 1 doubles due to the switch.
Lopez's intuition was correct, as DeLuna owns an impressive 13-2 record at No. 2 singles this season for Munster, including wins in his first eight matches.
"Having him in doubles for a third of the season, it helped his overall net and approach game," Lopez said. "He can rally from the baseline with the best of them."
There have been drastic improvement from DeLuna, and it couldn't have come at a better time. DeLuna lost a close match to Crown Point's Lance Noerenberg in a dual on Sept. 30. He fired back with a win over Noerenberg in Tuesday's Munster Regional semifinal, helping earn a pivotal point in the Mustangs' 3-2 win. Munster faces Carmel in today's Culver Academies 1 Semistate.
"When I played (Noerenberg) in past tournaments and the offseason, he won decisively," DeLuna said after Wednesday's regional championship win over Merrillville. "This season, with coach Lopez and my team, I really improved and I feel like I'm at that level where I can compete with the top guys at No. 2 singles."
Lopez compares DeLuna to 2013 Valparaiso grad Marty Pochop, one of the best No. 2 singles players Lopez said he's seen in the area.
"The kid has got unbelievable potential," Lopez said of DeLuna. "This is a good developmental year for him. His body has all the tools to get bigger and stronger. He can put 10-12 pounds of muscle on that frame."