Rams tennis starts out season with vast improvement

JOHNSONBURG – After a winless 2011 campaign, the Johnsonburg boys tennis team is already ahead of the curve for the 2012 season and are looking for bigger things to come as the spring progresses."We're looking to improve on last season after not winning a match and early on this year, we have won, and we have improved," said Johnsonburg head boys varsity tennis coach Gregg Dauber. "I hope to see some of our returning players stepping up and playing the way they should play to lead the way and lead the team because that's their job."With several weeks of practices in and a handful of matches already in the books, Dauber said the team's biggest collective weakness is inconsistency."In one match we're playing really well but it seems in the next match we're not doing much right," Dauber said. "You have to stay steady and focused. To fix it, they have to keep playing and get stronger mentally, just staying focused and keeping the ball in play, that way you can try to make your opponent make mistakes. Being steady is the key."After not winning a match last year, Dauber said that, as a varsity sport, counting wins and losses is a way to gauge success but he has seen a difference thus far this season."A lot of people look at wins and losses, and that's what you're supposed to look at-- it's a varsity sport and you're supposed to win," Dauber said. "I like to also look at what we've improved on in each match and each practice, and you have to make sure that we have improvement and advancement every single time. If we're not improving then I'm not doing my job."His players are looking forward to getting the job done this season as they face another difficult schedule."I think our starting five matches up quite well with everybody else in the district," Dauber said. "Elk County Catholic and DuBois Public are always tough but we're matching up well. With J.P. Allegretto as the No. 1 singles player, he wins more than he loses and that's solid, that's good at No. 1. "Mason Martonik is one of the more talented players on the team, he just needs to stay consistent. As returning lettermen, they should step up and win some matches."Dauber also is experimenting with doubles tandems with some new faces on the team."I have some new players in for doubles and some of them are struggling," Dauber said. "J.P. [Allegretto] and Mason [Martonik] have been working well together as are Shane [Bickford] and Nate [Fields]. "Some are struggling but some aren't-- the returning players aren't struggling but some of the newer pairs are."