PELLA – The top half of the men’s Central College tennis lineup will look very different in 2022 with a new crop of players bringing an energetic approach to the game.
From 2019-21, William Isiminger and David Boschma played 38 of 44 Dutch men’s tennis matches as number 1 and number 2 respectively. Both succeeded in the spring, forcing Ryun Ferrell to rearrange his lineup at the top.
With Ethan St. John also graduating in the spring after being a mainstay in the central lineup, Ferrell has three places in the singles lineup to reckon with and he’s excited about the opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to the idea of having some youth and some new blood,” he said. “This team has a very different atmosphere than last year. This group is noisy and draws a line in the sand. They get emotional and excited.”
The Dutch were 7-3 last year, including a 6-2 point in American Rivers Conference to secure a fourth consecutive third-place finish. In the fall individual tournaments, Central was 14-23 in singles and 16-10 in doubles.
“The fall was pretty solid,” Ferrell said. “Our focus now is on the idea that we need to train and get this team ready to go.”
An honorable mention to all conferences in 2021, Tanner Finken (senior, Carroll) is the presumed new No. 1. He is 17-19 in his career, but went 6-3 last spring.
“He has the most variety in his game,” Ferrell said. “He can do a lot of different things on the pitch and we’re going to lean on him.”
Trey Melvin (junior, Lawrence, Kan., Free State HS) led the team with 10 wins in singles last year, but having previously played most of his matches at No. 6, he can play as high as No. 2.
“Trey is a solid player,” Ferrell said. “He will have to play higher than before.”
Senior Brad DiLeo (Iowa City, West HS) is a three-year starter, having won 18 singles and 31 doubles, and will play a similar role this season.
“He’s always been a good player in the number 4-5 series,” Ferrell said. “He can go to a number 3-4 range.”
The contest to fill the last three places in the lineup features a laundry list of names.
“We have a pretty deep squad,” Ferrell said.
Juniors Matthew DenAdel (Ankeny, Centennial HS), Caleb Hamerlinck (Huxley, Ballard HS) and senior Jacob Alden (Ames, Ballard HS) are strong options to fill those three spots.
“Matthew is a super aggressive player who can make things happen,” Ferrell said. “Caleb was always close to making the lineup. He played a lot of tennis this summer. Jacob has also played a lot and has a chance to make the lineup. ”
Nick Scott (sophomore, Fort Benton, Mont., Great Falls Central Catholic HS) won the B-Flight doubles at the American Rivers Conference Individual Championships in the fall.
“Nick also had some solid singles results in the fall,” Ferrell said. “He’s just done a lot of great things and that was exciting to see.”
Newcomers Ayden Fletcher (freshmen, Waukee) and Kevin Lopez (freshmen, Storm Lake) also showed promise in the fall season.
“Ayden reached the quarter-finals of his series at the conference,” Ferrell said. “Kevin is a dark horse. He’s as fast as a water bug and gets the ball back.”
Juniors Nash Christian (Whitewater, Wisconsin, Fort Atkinson HS) and Michael Turnley (Manhattan, Kansas) are also on Ferrell’s shortlist.
“They’re such hard workers,” Ferrell said. “They still need to grow a bit, but they can also help.”
Dylan Roseburrough (senior, Marshalltown) and Lucas Vroom (sophomore, Altoona, Southeast Polk HS) are also returnees from last year. Luke Snyder (sophomore, Bloomfield, Davis County HS), Gabe Matthias (freshman, Knoxville), and Victor Nop (freshman, Huxley, Ballard HS) are new to the roster this year.
Luther College ended Coe College’s eight-year run as champion of the American Rivers Conference in 2021. Those two are expected to be at the top of the league again.
“Luther looked really good in the individual tournament and did some really good things in the region,” Ferrell said. “Coe has everyone back and brought in a little more talent.”
In addition to the eight conference duals, the Dutch have nine non-conference duals on the calendar. They will travel to Minnesota, Missouri and Kansas.
“I took our foot off the gas a little bit with our schedule,” Ferrell said. “I hope we can develop some confidence in the conference schedule. We still have some difficult games, but we also have some that we need to win.”
Central opens the season against Bethel University (Minn.) in Rochester on Saturday, January 29 at 5:00 PM