(May 23, 2014) Eight Stephen Decatur tennis players competed in the District VIII tournament, held May 13-14, in Cambridge. Unfortunately, all of the Seahawks were eliminated in the first round.
Senior John Niedfeldt and junior Delaney Iacona represented Decatur in singles competition.
Senior Zach Elmer and sophomore Logan Romberger took the court in boys’ doubles action, while seniors Ashley DePaul and Charlotte Petsche battled in girls’ competition.
Chase Eslin and Valerie Petsche, both seniors, had the most success. The mixed doubles pair won the first set, 6-4, but lost the next two, 6-2 and 7-5.
“We played OK. We were just out-gunned,” said Decatur Boys’ Coach Steve Berquist.
Added Girls’ Coach Jamie Greenwood, “We knew we were out-matched in most of our matches.”
“We struggled this year in the conference because of our lack of experience and it showed at districts,” Greenwood said. “The [Bayside Conference] North schools are so strong.”
Greenwood said he was happy with the way the Seahawks performed.
“They were the underdogs and they all went out there and played hard,” he said.
The Lady Seahawks finished the season, 8-6. Greenwood said the year went about how he expected. He knew the girls would struggle against Worcester Prep, James M. Bennett and Parkside due to their lack of experience and graduating several of his top-seeded players from 2013.
Also, all 11 of the athletes on Greenwood’s roster compete in other sports and tennis is not their main concentration.
“The girls playing first and second singles played low singles and doubles last year and the girls playing doubles never played before,” Greenwood said. “But, those lower seeds came through in some matches for us this year.”
Greenwood will lose four of his top five players–DePaul, the Petsche twin and Annie James–to graduation, but he is pleased with the improvement the younger girls made this year. They will return in 2015 with a year experience under their belts.
“The girls saw the improvement they made in two months and were excited,” Greenwood said. “I hope they work in the off-season to continue to improve. There are some girls in the middle school who are taking lessons now and hopefully they can help the team next year.”
The Decatur boys’ team, which also had a number of players who lacked varsity match experienced, finished 8-6.
Berquist will lose three of his top singles players–Niedfeldt, Elmer and Eslin–to graduation. Tate Socha will also graduate next week.
“It would have been nice to beat Bennett or Parkside, but we beat all the teams we should have beat this year,” Berquist said. “We played to our ability.”
Berquist said he is looking forward to next season as the underclassmen will step on the court with a year experience under their belts.
“They plan to work in the off-season. Hopefully they come back ready to go,” he said.