Grandview Heights Roundup: Bobcats boys tennis squad working to improve

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Grandview Heights senior Kieren Bode serves during a second-singles match against visiting Columbus West on March 30. Bode won 6-1, 6-3 in the 5-0 season-opening victory for the Bobcats.

The Grandview Heights boys tennis team is short on experience, but fourth-year coach Kathy Kinnard expects the Bobcats to quickly improve.

“We have three players back but all of the others are new to the sport,” Kinnard said. “They’re all athletic kids, so if they can move to the ball, they’ll do well and pick things up quickly. We’ll rotate them some to see who fits in where.”

Juniors Connor Hayes, Max Lauer and Tyler Schmied have the most experience. Lauer played second and third singles as a freshman before last season was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Hayes played doubles, while Schmied played third singles and second doubles.

“Max Lauer is our No. 1 (singles player),” Kinnard said. “He’s our best player and our most skilled player.

“He’s taken some lessons and he knows how to hit the ball. He played a number of varsity matches as a freshman, but it’s always tough taking on everyone’s best player (at first singles).”

First-year senior Kieren Bode started the opening match at second singles and Hayes was at third singles. The Bobcats won that match 5-0 over Columbus West on March 30 and also defeated Bloom-Carroll 3-2 on March 31.

“I like singles more (than doubles) because you’re relying on yourself more,” Hayes said. “You don’t have to depend on anyone else for a point. It’s just you, the ball and the other person.

“Coach has been stressing consistency, and I’m a lot more consistent. At our level, consistency wins games because you usually can wait on the other person to lose a point instead of taking too much risk.”

Grandview junior Max Lauer won his season-opening first-singles match 6-0, 6-0 on March 30.  Lauer is "our best player and our most skilled player," coach Kathy Kinnard.

In the opener, Lauer (6-0, 6-0), Bode (6-1, 6-3) and Hayes (6-0, 6-1) all posted singles victories, while Schmied and junior Hayden Roemer won 6-0, 6-0 at first doubles and juniors Dominic Moretti and Adam Narcelles won 6-2, 6-1 at second doubles.

“A big part of this team is making sure we’re in the team spirit,” Lauer said. “The biggest part of the game is the mental game and you have to be able to stay in the right mental game, especially when you’re playing doubles. 

“When you play doubles, you have to make sure your partner is in the right mindset and cheer everyone on. When they make a good shot or a good play, let them know it.”

Juniors Sam Elliott and Jake Leach and freshman Roman Donovsky also will see court time, according to Kinnard.

“I don’t see where anyone has locked into the two and three (courts in singles) or on either doubles court,” Kinnard said. “The first couple of weeks, you might see a lot of changes in the lineup.

“The weather has been kind to us and they’re getting better, but they’re not experienced. It’s one thing to hit a tennis ball, but when you have to put things together for points, it’s a little different. In high school tennis, every court is worth one point. We’re going to see who slots in where to make us a better team.”

INSIDE THE BOBCATS

Coach: Kathy Kinnard, fourth season 

Next match: April 12 at Worthington Christian

Key athletes: Kieren Bode, Connor Hayes, Max Lauer, Hayden Roemer and Tyler Schmied

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen