Erdmann excels for SU tennis
Tennis player Benjamin Erdmann is nearly back at full strength.
More than a year removed from an injury, the sophomore out of Ennis High School has been playing third to fifth singles and second or third doubles for the Southwestern College (Kan.) men's tennis team.
"His all-around game is very, very solid," Southwestern head coach Jason Speegle said. "He's very athletic."
"He's had a very strong fall," the coach said. "He's looking to keep working on his fitness."
Erdmann entered his freshman year recovering from a broken foot suffered during a practice match in July 2019. Though he didn't require surgery, he wore a walking boot and used crutches for eight weeks. Then he walked with just the boot for four weeks and a special insole for four more weeks. He was medically cleared in November.
The time away from the court meant he had to get back into game shape, yet it allowed him to learn about the game from watching his peers compete.
"When I was sitting on the bench, I was able to analyze the game and how some of the upperclassmen on my team would play," he said in an email. "It is a more offensive game than high school, but some players are still pretty defensive."
He finished runner-up in the third singles flight at the recent Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship, losing 6-2, 0-6, 10-2 to his McPherson opponent. He lost in the third doubles flight final as well.
"I had a pretty good season," Erdmann said. "I lost some very close matches in the 10-point tiebreakers. Overall, I am proud of my progress."
He said his serve and forehand have improved the most, helping him become a more offensive player. He still has work to do, however.
"I am trying to improve the most at the net game. I want to be able to finish better since I have many opportunities up at the net," he said. "My baseline game is really solid, but the net is an area for improvement. Also, my first serve percentage could be better."
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Another from Ennis High, sophomore Charles Mathes competes for Southwestern.
The sophomore lost in the D singles consolation final and lost in the doubles C draw final at the Tiger-Jinx Invitational, the season opener.
"He's performed pretty well," Speegle said. "He's gotten more consistent. His strength is in the doubles game."
Send updates about area athletes to Barbara Boxleitner at email@example.com.