Girls tennis: Heuer, Rogers, Tritsch give Munster plenty of lineup flexibility
BY Josh Lichtenfeld Post-Tribune correspondent April 10, 2013 9:26PM
Munster's (from left) Paige Heuer, Erica Tritsch and Mariana Rogers are photographed during practice in Munster, Ind. Wednesday April 3, 2013. The trio are returning varsity players for Munster. | Stephanie Dowell~ for Sun-Times Media
Much like the boys in the fall, the local girls adjusted to a statewide IHSAA realignment last spring. In one of the most interesting readjusted battles, Munster faced Highland early into the sectional and broke its two-year postseason losing streak against the Trojans before going on to the semistate. The Trojans, however, saw continued success beyond that point as sisters Aby and Vanessa Madrigal took home the doubles state championship. Bobbi Modesto of Chesterton finished her high school career (she’s now playing at IUPUI) being named the Post-Tribune player of the year after the Trojans defeated conference foe Valparaiso in an exciting 3-2 finish at the Portage Sectional final.
Updated: May 12, 2013 2:20PM
MUNSTER — The Munster tennis program has a track record that speaks for itself. The Mustangs have won the most sectionals (37) and regionals (27) in the state.
They’re constantly ranked atop both the district and state polls and have a reputation of being one of the biggest threats among region schools.
This credibility, however, didn’t cloud Bill Heuer’s mind when he took over the program a few seasons ago. Heuer isn’t a coach who believes his team can sleep on opponents.
The Mustangs lost in closely contested battles with neighbor and Northwest Crossroads Conference foe Highland in back-to-back regionals during the 2010 and 2011 postseasons. Then in 2012, thanks to the IHSAA realignment, the two teams squared off earlier in the tournament and Munster bounced back with a 4-1 decision in the semifinal round of its own sectional.
So, when it comes to this upcoming season and the promise of his team’s depth, Heuer again doesn’t want to think too far ahead.
“We’re not going to look past anybody to get on our path to the state tournament,” said the fourth-year coach.
And after being involved in the heat of these battles over the past three years, the senior trio of captains Paige Heuer, Mariana Rogers, and Erica Tritsch also don’t forget the past. Though, they ultimately would like a shot at taking the next step.
“We would love to make it to state this year,” Tritsch said before the younger Heuer added, “...And win.”
The three upperclassmen have competed in various spots for the squad and helped fuel the dominant 20-2 season last year. While each is versatile enough to play either singles or doubles, their biggest push has come in doubles action.
Tritsch and Heuer were No. 2 partners their freshman year and No. 1 partners until the middle of 2012, when Tritsch shifted to join Rogers at No. 2 doubles (where Rogers has played since sophomore year). That move ended with great success as the newly formed tandem went 11-0 and took the team’s only point from No. 2-ranked Carmel in the semistate. And Valparaiso University-bound Heuer maintained the No. 1 team’s strength against much of the area, finishing on the second-team all-state list.
“It was probably the best feeling I had in my entire life,” Tritsch recalls.
“I just felt comfortable with her,” added Rogers. “Because, she had the powerful hits at the back line.”
The flexibility is a welcomed feature, given the frequent tweaking of lineups in the early-to-middle part of the season. Right now Paige’s father, Bill, isn’t ruling out any options for the varsity rotation.
“I think that all three of them can play any position,” he said. “We’re always looking for that lineup that can get us the next step.”