“We will focus on one match at a time and work to improve from one outing to the next,” Starkey said. “If we improve at this rate, we should be quite competitive in the postseason. Our mental toughness will be a key factor.”
The Hoosier Crossroads Conference, like most seasons, should be one of the toughest, if not, the toughest, conference in the state. Brownsburg was last season’s HCC runner-up.
“We hope to be reaching our peak as we enter into the tournament weekend, and the seniors clearly know what is at stake and how much work it will take,” Starkey said.
The Quakers finished their season at the sectional final against Brownsburg last year, placed third in the Mid-State Conference and with an 8-9 record.
Plainfield graduated two varsity players and five seniors overall.
Plainfield coach Tony Epkey hopes the Quakers can improve on that record and finish with a sectional title, but understands the challenges ahead and said his team should be more prepared for those obstacles.
“Brownsburg has a strong team with mostly returning players like our team, so taking the title from them will be a difficult task,” Epkey said. “Many of our players did more offseason work this year on their own and this is the key to catching any strong team. Practices are off to a great start and I like what I see so far, we will have to wait and see if the results come from their work.”
Returning for Plainfield are seniors Brock Naaman, Jack Cavanaugh, Jacob Hopper and Evan Rink and each brings multiple years of experience back to the squad.
Naaman will hold down the No. 1 singles slot and Epkey said he “brings experience playing at the highest level of high school tennis.”
“Jack brings leadership qualities, is a natural player-coach and the guys respond most times when he has something to say,” Epkey said. “Jacob and Michael Bohney bring perhaps the most mental stability to the team and are like rocks when it comes to the court and mental toughness. Evan brings a higher level of intensity than anyone else on most days and when channeling that focus he is almost unstoppable at what he’s trying to accomplish.”