As tennis postseason play unfolds across Northwest Indiana, experienced seniors become the hot commodity.
"Younger players look to seniors for answers, especially in the sectionals," Highland coach Adam Baez said. "Teams with a strong senior base tend to do much better in the postseason."
The Trojans' No. 1 doubles team of Seth Peters and Matt Hodges hope to be able to provide exactly what their team needs to advance deep into the postseason as they prepare for the beginning of sectionals on Thursday.
Peters and Hodges became partners at the No. 1 doubles slot last season and were a big hit, winning a sectional. They earned all-conference, all-district and honorable mention all-state honors.
According to Baez, one of their strengths is the way they play smart tennis.
"They are both in the top 15 of their class, so they're pretty smart kids," Baez said. "They use that to their advantage out on the court. They communicate and anticipate very well, and that's worth a couple of points every match."
They have followed last year's success up with a 13-3 record so far this season, including upset wins over Valparaiso and LaPorte.
"We have been having a strong year so far," said Peters, a four-year letterman. "Hopefully, we will be able to keep it going."
Hodges, who has lettered three times, is a big believer in consistency. It was among his main goals coming into his final season.
"We wanted to elevate our level of play and keep it higher all season," Hodges said. "So far we have been pretty successful, and hopefully we will peak at the right time."
The same can be said for the Trojans. After starting the year 5-5, they have reeled off six straight team wins entering sectional play.
"Four of our five losses were 3-2," Peters said. "If we can turn those around now in postseason, we should be able to make a deeper run. We'd like to get to South Bend for semistate."
Both seniors have also set the goal of making the doubles state tournament this year, with an eye on a trip to Indianapolis.
"That would be a great way to cap off our tennis career," Hodges said. "We haven't had that opportunity yet, and this is our last shot."