With new coaches, Seymour and Brownstown tennis are set to start seasons


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Ethan Davis enjoyed an outstanding season with the Brownstown central boys’ tennis team last fall by posting a record of 21-2.

He missed the school record for wins in a season by one and is hoping to get off to a good start today when the Braves open their season at Madison.

Davis is moving from No. 2 singles to No. 1 singles and said, “I’m looking to have another successful year like last year and try winning as many games as I can, and hopefully we win together as a team, too.”

Donnie Thomas was the head coach at Bedford North Lawrence for the previous 14 seasons, and he is the new head coach of the Braves.

“Ethan is moving up from two to one and he had a really good season,” Thomas said. “He’s been playing a lot of baseball so he may be a little rusty. We don’t expect him to go 21-2 but we expect him to win quite a few.”

He is working with three veterans from last fall, Davis, Grant Elliott and Connor Gwin, who played No. 2 doubles last season.

Thomas said, “Connor played a lot of singles and doubles last year. I’m looking to put him with Bryce (Reaser) at No. 1 doubles. They play well together.

“Two doubles might be a different story. I’ve got a lot of guys that could play there. I’ve just got to see who can keep the ball in play and serve the best.”

Thomas said he likes the depth of his team.

“There is no super weak player in the bunch,” he said. “Lots of times you come out here and you don’t have people with very good forehands or backhands, but for the most part I like the way they can go cross-court with the ball and they seem to know what they’re doing.

“They may make some mistakes but they’re doing real well. The freshmen seem to be stepping up and put the ball in play. I’ve got three good freshmen that came in.”

The three freshmen are Smith Hackman, Lane Steward and Pierson Sheeler.

Davis said, “My forehand is a lot stronger than my backhand. I like getting all over the court if I have to. I like getting at the net a lot more than sitting back.”

He said he tries to use his 6-foot-2 height to his advantage and likes to score points off lobs.

He has worked to improve his serving. “I went from topping the ball over to learning the form and getting after it and it’s improved a lot more spin wise and speed. “

Davis said it is important to get off to a good start.

“That first set if you don’t win it then you’ve kind of dug yourself a hole and you really don’t want that,” he said. “If you can get ahead and stay ahead then your confidence is up and you have more confidence in your shots and stuff.

He said you have to be mentally and physically ready every time you take the court, and he enjoys filling a captain’s role.

Owls tennis set for season

Andrew Levine has played both singles and doubles matches during his career at Seymour High School, and he says there are some things he likes about both.

He split last season between singles and doubles after playing doubles his freshman and sophomore seasons.

“I like the pace or doubles better, but I like the strategy of singles a little more,” he said.

The Owls will open their season today at Waldron and Levine said “I think it will be a little like last year, probably a little more on the doubles side, at No. 1 doubles.

Brandon Davis, a 2011 graduate of SHS is in his first year as head coach of the Owls. He played tennis at SHS and last year coached the Seymour Middle School girls’ tennis team.

He said, “We have 16 good guys and each one brings something new and different to the court, so it’s all about where they best fit in the lineup and their strengths and weaknesses, and then just working on those weaknesses and having a growth mindset and tackling those as they come.”

Davis said Levine and Eli Meyer will be the team captains this fall. “They will take on those roles, based on votes by the team. The team saw leadership from them this summer when we had conditioning, and in these last couple practices.”

Hunter Heckman played both No. 1 and 2 singles most of last year.

“He will be battling to solidify his position at No. 1 singles and maintaining that spot,” Davis said.

Jack VonDielingen will play No. 2 singles and Joe Schmidt and Reuben Kruse are battling for No. 2 singles.

VonDielingen may also play some No. 1 doubles, and Meyer will play No. 1 doubles.

“Eli is very good at the net,” Davis said. “His height and reach is fantastic, and the fact that he is left-handed is super beneficial for doubles.”

Davis said several players are battling for No. 2 doubles.

Levine, who is a three-sport athlete at SHS, said, “I like how tennis is still a team sport, but there are a lot of individual goals that you can set for yourself.”

He said in singles he likes to start the game back “feeling my opponent out and realizing later in the game if I can get to the net or not.

“Most players tend to be a little weaker with their backhand so obviously I have to test that to see where I should start the game, getting an edge, getting momentum, see where he may be lacking and take advantage of that weakness.”

Levine, the only senior on the team, said he works on his backhand a lot in practice.

“I want to try and balance my game so, especially early whenever we’re warming up my opponent really can’t see a weakness, try to be as consistent as possible.

“If you make a few mistakes during the game that is going to happen, but I want to limit those in warm ups”

He said it is very important to win the first set, especially early in the season when you want to get off to a great start.

“If you lose that first one then it’s harder to get that momentum swinging back your way,” he said.

Levine, who was the Owls’ doubles player of the year and co-most valuable player last season, said he hopes to lead the owls to a winning record.

“I think we’ll have a successful year as far as sectional goes and I’m looking to get quite a few wins this year,” he said.

Davis said, “Our goal is to always grow as a team. That is first and foremost. I want our guys to grow as a team and grow together. Especially with the group we have, I think we can finally make tennis a good sport to come and watch in Seymour.

“They’re good at what they do so why not come and support them? I know we are talented enough to win a lot of games this season.”

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