Lincoln, Neb. - Ten returning members and three new additions to the Nebraska men’s tennis team aim to continue climbing the ITA Top 75 rankings and search for a Big Ten championship when they take the court in the spring of 2014.
Head Coach Kerry McDermott begins his 33rd season at the reins of the program after seeing a No. 62 final finish in NU’s second Big Ten Conference campaign in 2012-13. Marc Herrmann captured the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award as a freshman for Nebraska at the conclusion of the season.
“I feel that this team learned a lot about themselves and what they are capable of doing in the future,” McDermott said. “I think that we understand that for our team to do well throughout the year that it takes a whole group working together and striving to make the most of what everyone on the team has to offer. In my eyes I think we learned that continued hard work, good effort, much determination, lots of heart and the willingness to never quit will make for a bright future for this team.
“These past five years have shown significant progress on putting Nebraska tennis into the national rankings and showing that with continued hard work and effort that we can be a top-25 program and bring in the recruits that can help make a difference. I think that we have steadily improved and other schools are taking notice that Nebraska is a great school to study and play tennis.
“The next step for this team is to make sure that we find who our leaders this year will be and make sure that they are guiding and directing the team to become the best that we can be, especially when it comes to dual matches and getting everyone to believe in themselves. I think that our next steps are a continued rise in the national rankings, move up in the Big Ten Conference and continue to work hard on and off the court to reach our goals.”
Seniors Brandon Videtich, Tom Blackwell and Beau Treyz lead the charge for Nebraska. The two veterans will be the foundation of support and guidance for a young Husker squad.
Videtich, a three-year letterman from Lincoln, is Nebraska’s longest-serving player returning for his sixth season. Videtich entered the 2013-14 season with a 10-8 singles record and a 15-20 doubles record on his career. In 2013, Videtich earned academic All-Big Ten honors for his dedication to his studies alongside athletics. “Brandon made huge strides last year for himself and for the team,” McDermott said. “Him being a captain and showing leadership seems to inspire his own dedication toward self-improvement.”
Blackwell, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., entered his senior season with 34 career singles victories and six total doubles wins. “Tom will be a senior on this team and he wants to go out in style this year,” McDermott said. “Tom had a very good year last year winning a string of matches in a row and showing his teammates what it means to compete.”
Treyz, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., is a transfer athlete from North Florida, where he was a regular in the starting lineup. “Beau already has valuable experience playing Division I tennis and is excited to play in the Big Ten Conference,” McDermott said. “He is a fierce competitor, and as a past team captain his experience and work ethic will be an asset to our program.”
Nebraska has a lone junior to round out the upperclassmen in Sebastian Florczyk. Florczyk will miss the 2013-14 season with an injury. He is expected to rejoin the Huskers for the 2014-15 season at the conclusion of his recovery. Florczyk captured academic All-Big Ten Honors for the 2012-13 season and was a strong competitor for NU in doubles, putting together a 7-5 record.
The Husker squad consists of nine lower class students with five sophomores, two redshirt freshmen and two freshmen. The sophomores are Dusty Boyer, Marc Herrmann, Andrew Dzulynsky, Court Clark, Chris Schindler, Scott Elsass and Bradford Zitsch. “I feel that our younger players are the backbone to our future,” McDermott said. “They have some much needed experience from playing last year, and they realize what it takes to move this program to another level. The younger guys know that we, as coaches, will push them much harder than they think they can go at times and can help the new guys on the team learn that the hard work will pay off and it’s a long year. The young guys will teach our new kids that, overall, a positive attitude and hard work ethic will go a long way to help define this team.”
Boyer, a native of Ham Lake, Minn., produced winning records in both singles and doubles in his first year at 19-16 and 14-13, respectively. “Dusty came on strong about the middle of the year and never looked back,” McDermott said. “As a freshman, I feel that he did a very good job adjusting to college tennis and now his experience from last year should make him that much stronger this year.”
Herrmann, a native of Rohrback, Germany, had a breakout season for the Huskers notching 17 singles victories and 13 doubles wins for the Big Red. “Marc is a fighter and mentally does not give up on himself,” McDermott said. “He is exactly the type of guy we have been looking for in our program. Someone who gives full effort and works hard every day.”
Dzulynsky, a native of Miramar, Fla., played limited action in his first year. He only played in singles and accumulated just nine total matches, but McDermott expects an increase in contribution for the young player. “Andrew saw some action playing singles at the No. 5 and 6 spots,” McDermott said. “He gained valuable experience at the college level. Andrew is continuing to develop and is a hard worker who can play at a high level and just needs to believe in himself every time he steps on the court.”
Elsass, a native of Eden Prairie, Minn., was a fixture in the doubles lineup for NU in his freshman season. Elsass produced a 12-12 doubles record and hopes to improve on that mark in 2013-14. “Scott has been a pleasant surprise in our program,” McDermott said. “I feel that Scott will have a chance to play singles, as he is a fierce competitor and he wants to prove himself this year in the singles lineup. Hopefully, Scott will continue to improve and, with his doubles skills, we look for some great things to happen down the road this year.”
Zitsch, a native of Columbia, Mo., also played a huge role in doubles for Nebraska in his first year. He grabbed 15 wins as a partner. With an even 6-6 mark in singles and a winning record in doubles, Zitsch hopes to compete for the top spots in the lineup his sophomore year. “Bradford will play a significant role in doubles again,” McDermott said. “We are hoping that he can continue to improve and move up in the singles lineup, as he has the ability to do some big things for this team. As long as he keeps developing his patience, I think he can be a force in our singles lineup.”
Clark, a Lincoln native, was a redshirt for the Huskers in his freshman year but managed to earn a spot on the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll for the fall of 2012. McDermott believes Clark will emerge into the NU lineup his second season. “Court was a redshirt freshman who gained much valuable practice time last year and got to see what college tennis is all about,” McDermott said. “He is ready to step in and make things happen. He is a kid that works very hard, puts in his time and understands that he needs to play his style and good things will happen in his future.”
Schindler, an international student from Hanau, Germany, also redshirted his freshman season for the Huskers and managed an appearance on the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll in the spring of 2013. “Chris was a redshirt freshman for us last year and has a big chance to see some playing time in the singles line up this year,” McDermott said. “He has adjusted to the hard courts here in the U.S. and to the college system. With one year of practice behind him, he is ready to make an impact on this team.”
Two incoming freshmen join the ranks to bolster the young squad for Nebraska. Joining the team are Hyung-Chul “Charlie” Shin and Vasileios Stavropoulos. “I really think our new guys will bring a lot to the table,” McDermott said. “These guys are very hard workers to begin with, and I am pretty sure that we as coaches will not have to say too much to them from the time they step into our program. I feel that these guys understand what we expect from them: hard work, positive environment, committed to excellence and ‘never say die’ attitudes. If they can endure this environment, then we will overcome any obstacles and have a great year.”
Stavropoulos, coming all the way from Athens, Greece, was the No. 1 player in his age group in his country for three years straight. Stavropoulos will fight for a top spot in the lineup immediately. “We are excited as coaches to bring him to an even higher level with his tennis,” McDermott said. “I love his attitude toward hard work and wanting to improve. We have no doubt his attitude can only rub off onto his teammates, and continue to move our program forward in the Big Ten and nationally.”
Shin, a native of Daejeon, South Korea, reached as high as No. 23 nationally as a junior player before joining NU. McDermott expects big things from the young talent. “We are looking forward to working with Charlie,” McDermott said. “We feel that he will fit nicely with our team and the goals we have here at Nebraska.”
Nebraska faces some tough competition this season heading up against numerous top-75 schools from last season and participating in the ITA Kick Off event in Los Angeles, Calif., hosted by UCLA. “I expect that my team will develop into a very good team by the time spring semester rolls around,” McDermott said. “I think that we will surprise a lot of teams and maybe even ourselves. I feel that with the guys that we have on this team this year, that the chemistry and competitiveness will develop us into a very good team by the end of the year. I am hoping to get back into the top 35 by the end of the year and get a chance to make the NCAA Tournament as a team.”