By Dave Pearce
Winning bad become ‘foreign’ to this year’s young and inexperienced North Posey Viking tennis team. The team had suffered through six losses by scores of 3-2., five of those were successive matches.
But it could just have been a ‘foreigner’ who saved the season for the Vikings as a German foreign exchange student Jan-Philipp Eckert became eligible and Coach Brandon Barrett inserted him into the line-up. Since that time, the Vikings have won two of three matches and more importantly, claimed the title at the Gibson Southern Invitational on Saturday.
“The boys have definitely improved,” North Posey Coach Brandon Barrett said on Sunday. “I have a foreign exchange student who has come in and is playing No. 3 singles. I actually have moved the boy that was playing No. 3 singles, freshman Grant Scheller, to No. 2 doubles. He has really jump-started that spot for us.”
Barrett indicated that Scheller’s early matches at No. 3 singles are now paying dividends in doubles as the team appears to be rounding into form and could be a factor in what everyone considers a wide open sectional.
The Vikings, who have been reassigned this year to the Princeton sectional, after many years of playing in Mount Vernon, will face familiar foes regardless of who they draw in the sectional. As a matter of fact, Barrett saw it as critical that his team perform well in this weekend’s Invitational and they did just that.
Standing with a record of just 2-8, the Vikings had to prove themselves with their new line-up. They had lost to the Titans in dual match play 3-2 just a few days ago.
“It was actually my exchange student’s second career match and he ended up going three sets but lost the third 6-2,” Barrett explained. “But in the tournament, he got revenge. He got him back, beating him 6-4, 6-4.”
The Vikings’s No. 1 player is Kyle Voegel and Barrett said he believes his No. 1 is a pretty good player.
“I cannot believe the talent at No. 1 singles,” Barrett said. “I played from 1996 to 2000 and it’s just insane to watch right now. Kyle is a good player but he doesn’t play year-round and he doesn’t take private lessons like these other No. 1 players do. But he has won four matches this year.”
Reed Gertiesen owns the team’s best singles record, standing at 11-3 at No. 2 singles. Eckert is 2-3 right now at No. 3 singles.
“Griffin Motz and Drake Davenport have really come together and are playing well,” Barrett said. “They are 12-3 right now. They are really starting to play well together.”
Christian Jones and Grant Scheller are now Barrett’s No. 2 doubles team (3-2) and he hopes the new line-up not only gets the team some wins but also prepares them for the sectional. The team was second at Gibson Southern last year.
Chase Wildeman had been playing at No. 2 doubles as a junior and his coach knows that he has to be ready if called upon in the event of an injury or an illness.
“He continues to work hard and even if he sees limited action the rest of this year, he knows that he is only a junior and that we will be losing two players after this season,” Barrett said. “This is his third year and he continues to compete hard, now at the reserve level. He always gives 110 percent.”
The Vikings will face one of the better teams in Southern Indiana on Tuesday against Mount Vernon while they will host Tecumseh on Tuesday.
“Winning that tournament at Gibson was a big statement for us,” Barrett said. “It was a blind draw and we got all five positions into the championship round. Then we beat Gibson Southern, technically 4-1 but head-to-head in three matches.”
The Vikings will play in the four-team Princeton Sectional this year that consists of the host Tigers, Gibson Southern, and Tecumseh.
Gibson Southern Boys Tennis Invitational
North Posey 23, Gibson Southern 16, Tecumseh 10, Bosse 6
#1 Singles: Cody Mann (GS) def Kyle Voegel (NP) 6-1 6-2
#2 Singles: Reed Gerteisen (NP) def Grant Pemberton (T) 6-3 6-0
#3 Singles: Jan-Philipp Eckert (NP) def Chase Maurer (GS) 6-4, 6-4
#1 Doubles: Griffin Motz/Drake Davenport (NP) def Sam Greubel/Josh Nurrenbern (GS) 6-4 6-3
#2 Doubles: Christian Jones/Grant Scheller (NP) def Ryan Smith/Kyle Tretter (GS) 6-3 2-6 10-6