By Corey B. Elliot
— The Ben Davis Giants girls’ tennis team will be fighting to find its stride for most of the 2013 season as they return just three players with varsity experience. The expectations will be set at a reasonable standard for the purple and white as they try to make the most of what looks like a down season for Kevin Vanderbush and his team.
“This season I anticipate a rebuilding year from a team standpoint,” Vanderbush said. “From an individual standpoint, I’m really counting on Alyssa Montgomery and Natalie Drummond to lead the team and show them what’s expected.”
Drummond played two years of varsity at the No. 1 singles spot and finished 10-10 last year while Montgomery was on the No. 1 doubles team that finished 11-9. Both will be expected to lead and keep the morale at a high level throughout the season. While the Giants may struggle, they’re not the only team enduring tough times and that gives reason to be optimistic.
“I’m counting on both to let the younger ones know how things are done and lead by example,” Vanderbush said. “This year we don’t have quite as much experience. We have a lot of matches we can win because we’re up against a lot of teams that are going through the same thing we are. I would say at least three to four of our opponents have had to replace seniors and will have similar circumstances.”
From an individual outlook, the season has some light at the end of the tunnel. Experience in singles play will help contribute to the overall team record and boost the morale of the team. Vanderbush is counting on individual matches to pick up some of the slack.
“The nice thing about tennis is they combine individual and team points,” Vanderbush said. “Each can measure themselves by individual performances while helping win team points in hopes that it helps their confidence. I think they all have separate goals based on where they are, but they also will have a good time learning to compete while getting better.”
When it comes to Drummond, the senior doesn’t have much more room for improvement. She’s second all-time in school history in wins at her singles spot and this season she’ll try to overtake that mark. Striving for double digits in the win column will more than likely put her name in the record books.
“I’m hoping our girls are aiming for double digit wins individually,” Vanderbush said. “As a team, for the last three years we’ve averaged around nine wins a year, which is a lot better than the program was prior to that. I’m hoping we improve consistently so that we’re ready to compete come sectional time.”
The Giants open their season Wednesday at Pike where they hope to put the plan into action and begin developing and rebuilding.
“Pike was a team we were able to beat last year, so we expect to be competitive and have a chance at winning,” Vanderbush said. “I’m just hoping this weather will change so we can play, because that’s a great match for us to start our season.”