The Loyola Sacred Heart boys tennis team took home the class B/C state title last season, and after losing only a few players, expectations were once again high.
"Obviously we wanted to do good, the total goal I to win it, but really just improve and get better and become better people," says LSH junior Kalen Christiaens.
"Pressure wise, we're defending champs, so we have people hunting us, but most of the pressure is coming from within our own minds. We just have to play our own game, and focus on us, because if we do that, we'll play well. Even if we lose, we'll play our best tennis," adds LSH senior Teddy Muth.
This past weekend, the team held an invitational tournament, with many of the top B and C teams in the state competing, making it somewhat of a preview of the state tournament.
"We did pretty well. Kalen took first in singles, and me and Teddy took first in doubles. We had our 3 doubles team take first in the 3-4 so I think we're looking fine at placing for state," says LSH junior Stephen Sellman.
With the smaller enrollment numbers in the B/C schools, tennis can be difficult to gather enough team members, and at Loyola, they make a point of having it be an enjoyable experience.
"I try to make it fun. Tennis is a very tough sport, and if you can't make it fun, kids aren't going to come out," says LSH head coach Gayle Yamasaki.
"One of the big things is there isn't a lot of players who only do tennis. At Hellgate and Sentinel there are a fair amount of kids who play specifically tennis, and at Loyola we have a lot of basketball and football players who come out to have fun, but honestly I think that's what makes it better, because they aren't focused on tennis, but they are competitive because they play other sports, and they want to improve and have fun," adds Christiaens.