14 June 2012

Boys Tennis: Seniors leave mark on program

MVP Blake Olmscheid (photo by Jim Lindquist)

Tiger Award winner Ben Cline (photo by Jim Lindquist)

 Contrary to to what the won-lost record (2-13) might show, Tiger coach Jack Olwell said the 2012 season was a successful one. Olwell credits a strong senior class for much of that success.

"I know it sounds trite, but those four guys are irreplaceable," he said. "Blake Olmscheid and Ben Cline were the best 1-2 combo we have had in a long time, and their work ethic was exceptional.

"Jeff Zakoski and Tyler Olson made up our No. 1 doubles team. Jeff didn't take up the game until 10th grade and made himself a player through hard work and Tyler's forehand and serve were things of beauty...The senior leadership those four provided was the best in the 30-plus years I've been here"

That foursome and eight underclassmen received varsity letters at the team's post-season banquet. That list includes junior Austin Rau and Drew Corraro; sophomores Trent Kortenbush, Ajay Ramnaryan, Jon Zakoski, Austin Tremmell and Ivan Rodriguez and eighth-grader Bennett Lagro.

Six other Tigers received certificates of participation including junior Chris McLaughlin; sophomores Jake Spindler and Nicolas Makhoul and freshmen Garrett Brown, Mark Dunlop and Christian Makhoul.

Olmscheid was the team's Most Valuable Player and Cline was the winner of the Tiger Award. Both of the Tiger seniors received all-Missota Conference honorable mention.

"I was a little disappointed they didn't make the all-conference team," Olwell said. "Despite their records, they were among the top 16 players in the conference."

Rodriguez who posted the team's best individual record (8-5) playing at third singles was named Player of the Year and Lagro, a fixture at the No. 4 singles spot, was tabbed Most Improved Player.

Olwell said his team's record was deceiving, citing three one-point losses and another where it played five three-set matches.leading after the first set in four of them before losing 1-6 to Chanhassen..

"Despite the losing, we remained focused during practice and intense during matches," Olwell said.
"I'd take a group like this any time."

Olwell will return his third and fourth singles players and second and third doubles teams next spring, but said there is a lot of work to be done between now and then.

"We will need to hit a lot of balls and play a lot of matches to catch up with our more experienced opponents," he said. "We had a couple of players this year  who showed what kind of results that can produce."