Bentonville Defends Tennis Title With New Combinations
September 1, 2011
BENTONVILLE The destination remains the same for Bentonville’s boys tennis team, but coach Paul Pautsch will try a different route to get there.
He could have kept intact the two doubles teams that reached the Class 7A state final, but that’s not the
case. Zach Ellis, one-half of the state championship team, will play with sophomore Daniel Joshuva, and Kevin Morris, the other half, reunites with Matt Tabler, his doubles partner two years ago.
Varun Shaw, who reached the title match with Tabler, will try his hand at singles competition, and Pautsch likes the different combinations the Tigers will present as they defend their state championship.
“We’ve talked about that all the way through in our practices,” Pautsch said. “Number one, we have a team, and number two, our team is going to be ready to go whether it’s with the six we had last year or a new six. We’ll find out as soon as we get going who is going to do it and who’s not.”
The Tigers welcome back Jordan Sheppard, who missed last season with an injury. He will be the No. 1 singles player, while Bentonville also returns Justin Pollard and Dylan Deluca, both of whom played in the state tournament last year.
“It’s a neat situation to be in,” Pautsch said. “I’m excited about our chances. We have a great team and great kids, and we’ll be ready to rock.”
On the girls side, Bentonville returns Caroline Koonce and McKenna Kraus, who reached the state tournament semfinals in doubles last year. Senior Sneha Chikkala and sophomore Michelle Moore saw action in singles play, and Pautsch will have to determine what kind of role four talented freshmen — Kendra Dinsmore, Karlee Kilker, Madison Moore and Mallory Tabler — will play.
“Last year was the first time in
21 years that I didn’t have a singles player win a match at conference,” he said. “I told them at practice that it won’t happen again. We have some kids out there that are really going to be legitimate players, so the girls
team will be back at Bentonville this year.”