18 top-three league team finishes in past 31 years
PELLA—The Central College men’s and women’s tennis teams will play three matches in Little Rock, Ark., over spring break.
The Dutch meet East Texas Baptist University Monday, Hendrix College (Ark.) Tuesday and Harding University (Ark.) Wednesday.
“From what I’ve read, Harding and Hendrix will both be quite good but East Texas Baptist is an unknown quality,” coach Steve Tyler said.
On the men’s side, Harding sports a 12-0 record (7-0 spring) and Hendrix is 4-5 (3-4 spring). Stats were unavailable for East Texas Baptist. Central is 5-4 (3-4 spring) at the halfway mark of the season.
“It’ll be great training for the men to prepare for the rest of our Iowa Conference matches,” Tyler said.
Eight players will mix into the lineup. With regular starter Seth Harris (senior, Waverly, Neb.) gone at No. 1, the top six will have a new look. A possible lineup includes freshman Collin Schares (Johnston) at No. 1, sophomore Kyle Freischlag (Downers Grove, Ill., South HS) at No. 2, sophomore Zane Hendricks (Fort Dodge) at No. 3, freshman Tim Kahl (Grinnell) at No. 4, sophomore John Seier (Lincoln, Neb., Waverly HS) at No. 5 and freshman Josh Forst (Woodridge, Ill., Downers Grove South HS) at No. 6.
In doubles play, Freischlag and Forst will slide up to No. 1 doubles while Seier and Kahl will pair at No. 2 and Hendricks and Schares will team at No. 3. Junior David Bouska (Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) and sophomore Kurt Faller (Grand Junction, Colo., Central HS) will also see playing time.
For the women, Harding is 8-2 (6-1 spring) and Hendrix is 2-6 (2-4 spring). Central will be playing its first match of the spring. The Dutch finished sixth in the league this fall, compiling a 6-9 mark.
“The Arkansas matches will be preparation for the women’s three matches when they come back, but they’re even more so to get ready for next fall,” Tyler said. “We’re only losing one player on this trip to graduation.”
The women will also take eight players: senior Riley Taylor (Tama, South Tama HS), sophomore Blake Taylor (Tama, South Tama HS), freshman Emily Koontz (Council Bluffs, Abraham Lincoln HS), sophomore Nicole Curran (Cedar Falls, Northern University HS), freshman Aly Garwood (Dysart, Union HS), freshman Ashlei Bos (Weatherby Lake, Mo., Park Hill HS), freshman Sarah Montgomery (Bettendorf) and freshman Jordan Langer (Verona, Wis.).
Tyler is excited for five full days of tennis.
“We picked Arkansas so we can play lots of intense tennis,” he said. “We’ll hit a lot of balls and work on directionals, volleys and serve and return. We’ll also do a lot of mental training and work on relaxation, affirmation and rituals.”
The opportunity to play outside will help the Dutch get ready for the remainder of the spring season.
“We hope to get outside to play in the sun and work with the wind,” he said. “We’ve been indoors for seven weeks. When we get back we plan on being outside the rest of the season, so this will give us a head start.”
The squads will also squeeze in time for team activities at a blues club, a zoo and the Clinton Presidential Library.
“We want to have fun while learning some new things,” Tyler said.
Tyler is looking forward to the week with the team.
“The attitude has never been better on our two squads,” he said. “I just enjoy being with these players.”