With its entire starting lineup returning in 2001, the Brainerd Warriors boys' tennis team enjoyed its best season in three years, finishing 11-3 and losing in the subsection semifinals.
The Warriors anticipate another winning season this spring as six regulars return.
Junior Paul Tuchscherer returns after narrowly missing a trip to state in doubles.
Also back are seniors Chad Anderson and Matt Holbrook, juniors Shaun Kennedy and Mark Norman and sophomore Matt Steiger.
Tuchscherer and graduated partner Erik Bohn were subsection doubles runners-up and finished third in the section.
Head coach -- Bruce Thompson (sixth year).
Career record -- 47-30 (.610)
2001 record -- 10-2 CLC, 11-3 overall
Returning players -- Seniors Matt Holbrook, Chad Anderson; juniors Shaun Kennedy, Mark Norman, Paul Tuchscherer; sophomore Matt Steiger.
Assistant coaches -- Chuck Whalen.
(Meets 4:30 p.m. unless noted.)
11-ST. CLOUD APOLLO
16-at Little Falls
23-at St. Cloud Tech
27-at Moorhead Inv. 9 a.m.
2-at St. Cloud Apollo
9-ST. CLOUD TECH
18-BRD INV. 9 a.m.
Tuchscherer is ticketed to play No. 1 singles after manning that position much of last season.
"Paul has improved steadily as a singles player every year," Warriors coach Bruce Thompson said. "I think this might be the year for him to look at the singles side of it. By the end of the season last year he was our No. 1. He had a good basketball season. It will be good for him to step up and get after things from the onset.
"Paul plays a good game. He doesn't get shook. He has a good mental edge. His skills and technique are pretty good."
Thompson expects Anderson, a captain, to move up in the singles lineup.
"Chad has improved his game," Thompson said. "We hope he continues where he left off last year. He needs to use the tools he's got and improve his mental focus.
"He has shown strong leadership. He's a quiet leader. He's good at what he does. He's solid in his part of the lineup."
Holbrook is another captain and will likely play doubles.
"Matt's got some assets and tools for doubles," Thompson said. "He's got a good handle on the game. We will probably keep him on the doubles side. We need some strong doubles play. We know he will contribute. We have to find him a partner and get some doubles teams organized."
Kennedy will fill a singles or doubles slot.
"We've got to get outside and find out where Shaun fits in," Thompson said.
Norman is probably slated for a doubles position.
"Hopefully, Mark will bring his aggressive style to doubles," Thompson said. "He will probably play No. 2 or 3 doubles. Once he improves his serve, he will be a better player."
Thompson said Steiger will be a key component of the team.
"Matt can play singles or doubles," Thompson said. "I could see loading him up with Holbrook in doubles or at the No. 3 singles spot. He will play where we need him. We don't have it all figured out yet, but he will help us somewhere."
Additional varsity candidates:
Seniors -- Nate Ebertowski, Craig Bourassa, Karim Hanania.
Juniors -- Matt Smith, Anthony Mehr, John Benson.
Sophomores -- Matt Radniecki, Aaron Peters.
Freshmen Sean Switajewski, Joe Henke, Brett Severson, Bryan Lamb, Kevin Imgrund, Conrad Kragness, Chad Johannessohn, Paul Kittelson, Andrew Mehr, Brett Travica, Nate Hall.
"This team has some ability," Thompson said. "Our success will center around our doubles and how our unknowns fit in.
"Doubles is a question mark until we take the court for the first match. Until we get outside and play some sets, we don't know what that will be."
* There no longer will be a break after the first game. Contestants will now play game one, switch ends of the court, play games two and three and take a break.
"It's not a major deal," Thompson said. "It speeds up the time of a set. The pros and colleges have been doing it. We used it last fall with the girls' team."
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