By BRADEN LAYER
---- — After spending nine years as the head coach of the Effingham girls tennis team, Greg Brumleve will try his hand with the boys squad this spring. Brumleve replaces Rob Cornell at the helm, who helped guide the doubles team of Isaac Foreman and Parth Maheshwari all the way to the state tournament last year in Chicago.
Foreman and Maheshwari played beyond their years as sophomores last season, and Brumleve is again expecting big things for this year’s campaign.
”They both have nice footwork and possess great serving and volleying skills, as well,” he said.
The duo will undoubtedly be one of the top doubles team in the area. To help them navigate a new season with a much bigger target on their back, Brumleve is counting on his pair of returning senior lettermen in Jake Heuerman and Nick Pellman.
”I look for these guys and my other seniors to provide necessary leadership for the team to excel,” he said. “Jake and Nick are playing quite well right now, and both have an excellent understanding of the game.”
Though the season is young, Effingham won its first match with ease, defeating Salem 9-0 on Thursday at Hendelmeyer park. Aside from Jake and Nick, who both won their matches against the Wildcats, Brumleve also knows he has a handful of other seniors that are waiting in the wing, many of which could step up and be key contributors when matches get underway.
”Other seniors that could crack the varsity lineup are Kodi Avery, Caleb Gadberry, Jeff Keitel and Cody Sennett,” he said. “They all have excellent fundamentals and super attitudes.”
In the junior class, three other lettermen return to join Foreman and Maheshwari. Brumleve said the class as a whole has worked extremely hard in the offseason, preparing to make a much larger splash in their junior years.
”Aaron Meyers is an excellent player,” he said. “I have noticed a much improved serve this year over last. Jason and Wyatt Wohltman are both quite steady players with no holes in their games. They too have worked hard this past winter to take their games to another level.”
The underclassmen are inexperienced, but Brumleve says there is no shortage of talent. He expects the likes of sophomore Jacob Gadberry and eight freshmen to find ways to contribute and help the team.
”Count none of these players out of possible varsity play,” he said. “They are all very hard workers and will contribute in some capacity.”
Competition has run abundant in the preseason, as Brumleve tries to settle in on his starting lineup. Both the singles and doubles slots are still being determined, with a bevy of talented players vying for time.
”All of our guys are ready and challenging fiercely to fill the voids,” Brumleve said.
When a final lineup is selected, Brumleve has a clear vision for this season. He wants to challenge in every tournament, as well as have a few extra players participate in May’s state meet.
”The main goal for this team is to simply play hard and win as many matches as possible,” he said. “We would also like to play competitively in the tournaments and qualify several players for state competition.”
Effingham will hit the courts for the second time this season when they travel to Robinson on Monday.
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at firstname.lastname@example.org