The Covenant Christian Warriors boys’ tennis team is in the midst of a transition.
It was only two years ago when the Warriors were ranked as high as 17th in the state with a record of 17-2, claiming yet another sectional title. But the departure of a strong senior class and limited experience has Covenant Christian looking to stay above .500 and that’s perfectly fine with them.
The Warriors went 10-7 in 2012. Covenant Christian ended up third in the city tournament but lost to Ben Davis in the first round of sectional play. Despite senior Nathan Zumbrun making it to state finals last season, the Warriors have a ways to go until they return to their form of a few seasons ago.
“Realistically, .500 is right where we’re at,” Covenant coach Mike Zumbrun said. “I actually would be happy if we duplicate last year. For us, last year was about as well as we were going to do. If the kids played hard and did what they could do I’d be happy with that again.”
While some schools look to develop their players into contenders for state titles, the Warriors would like to think of their program on different terms. This season, Covenant Christian is setting goals to its own standards.
Despite feeling like a middle of the road team, Zumbrun still aims to take home the hardware and this season is going to be no different.
“Our primary goal every year has always been to try and put ourselves in position for a sectional title,” he said. “Our major team goal is to work towards that and give ourselves a chance. Our second biggest team goal is winning the city tournament. That’s our version of the conference championship. If we can place as well as we can there and have individual success along the same lines then we are headed in the right direction.”
This season, the Warriors will return their No.1 singles player Nathan Zumbrun who will lead Covenant Christian vocally and by example. Zumbrun’s career record is an impressive 62-7 and after his state appearance last fall there is no doubt that the possibility to return is real.
However, when you’re the smaller dog in the fight it’s hard to be optimistic.
“I’d love to see someone get on a roll and win some big matches, but there are kids that are just on another level than other players,” Zumbrun said. “The problem with the west side is our regional always includes Park Tudor and Brebeuf and that’s kind of a glass ceiling for all of us because they are looking for state titles year in and year out.”
Until the Warriors have that chance to prove themselves come sectional time, Zumbrun’s hopes are for a strong season that prepares Covenant Christian to compete.
“I do believe if the kids compete well and enjoy what we’re doing and we behave ourselves it’s a success,” he said. “We are going to play against Cathedral and Lawrence North and our other neighbors. They are pretty big programs and Ben Davis is favorite for our sectional but I think we have a chance if some people improve and stay the course.”