MTZ Boys Tennis eyes return to state tournament
By BLAKE FAITH
Last season, the Mt. Zion boys tennis team finished in 15th place at the 1A IHSA State Tournament. This season Head Coach Mike Roberts and his team’s goals are to finish in the top-10 at 1A IHSA State Tournament.
The team regains a normal season after the 2020 season was canceled and last year losing their normal tournaments throughout the year. These tournaments usually bring in an estimated 20 schools that the Braves normally wouldn’t see and compete against.
Coach Roberts said he was really excited about his team this season. His captains are Lane Fehrenbacher and Rylee Gower. Coach Roberts mentioned junior Evan Griffifth who crossed over from soccer and had to deal with playing two sports in the same season due to the rescheduling of the boys soccer season. Griffith played a lot of catch up and tried to get ready and didn’t hit his stride last season. This season his only sport will be tennis.
“This year, he’s ready to go,” Coach Roberts said. “And so I’m really excited about the impact that he’s gonna bring to the team because of that, because he is ready to play. And I think he’s excited about that as well.”
Fehrenbacher is really happy to be a captain alongside Gower.
“I’m really happy to be a captain this year along with my other Co-Captain Rylee Gower,” Fehrenbacher said. “And it’s nice to be an example to these other guys who maybe haven’t had as much experience as we have and to experience these past three years and everything that it means to be a team to us.”
Gower is excited as well, but offers an individual thought.
“We’ve been playing since freshman year,” Gower said. “And it means a lot to be the captain, because everyone looks up to the captain, everyone kind of follows your example. So it’s kind of neat to be in that position, have that role.”
Fehrenbacher’s individual goal is to have a winning singles record and make it to sectionals in singles play and his team goal is to send two doubles teams and a singles team to state. Fehrenbacher wants to be remembered as a good captain.
Gower’s individual goal is to get better and his team goal is to make it to state as a team. Gower wants to make this team the best team and season Coach Roberts has ever had as his lasting mark.
Coach Roberts relies on his captains a lot whether it’s to get practices started or get some guys together and can lean on them more to get something done.
During the offseason, six of Coach Roberts’ players played in tournaments that kept his players fresh. Five of the six players played in United States Tournament Association tournaments.
Coach Roberts’ overall message he wanted to send to readers and the community is come out and check out this team.
This is one of the most talented teams I’ve ever had and I’ve had some really talented teams,” Coach Roberts said. “We are going to be fun to watch. We’re going to be extremely competitive. I encourage the community to get out and come see what our program is all about.”
The Mt. Zion boys tennis team begins its season at the Triad Tourney on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.