Tennis Team Preparing for Higher Stakes, Bigger Challenges

Thomas Zakowski, Staff Writer, Journalism I

With Christmas coming soon, hockey and basketball have taken up much of the spotlight with NDA athletics. Already looking forward to this spring, the NDA tennis team is getting set for their new season with higher stakes than ever.

After losing three seniors last season and being shut out for the first time in 12 years to go to state, many in the tennis community would find this year to be a rebuilding year. Instead, Head Coach Steve Burns decided to bolster NDA into Division I play. A tougher competition for the now young team.

“Our not going to state has only made the team work harder to make it this year,” said junior co-captain Joshua Janssen who plays 1 doubles.  

The tennis team has been practicing since early June this year trying to prime their players for the season. Last season NDA lost in the sectional final against Kohler in an extremely close match coming down to their three doubles pair.

“ I learned to lose. That loss helped me build a lot of character and it was really humbling,” said Will Templeton, a junior who participated in the match.

Notre Dame is not in short supply of willing players. Multiple players will likely be competing for the team’s four singles spot and at least three freshmen with tournament and team tennis experience are expected to try out for the team.

“This is not a rebuilding year because we have lots of players that have stepped up, want this team to succeed and want to fill the shoes of the seniors that left,” Janssen said.

“We’re set on state and I want to get revenge this year,” Templeton said.

“Our toughest matchup this year will be Southwest who I know we can beat.” Janssen said. Southwest is the defending FRCC champions and NDA is hoping to take the title back.

“I’m excited for team state which we will make. My role as a captain is to prepare the team going into the season and being a role model for the young players,” said William Schneider, also a junior co-captain and 1 singles player.

“I see this team going far. I think that this team can run with any other team in the conference,” Janssen said.

The confidence seems to be there, but spectators will have to wait until spring to see if Notre Dame can follow through.

“Watch out,” Schneider said.