Doubles team records successful season
     2014-10-09      By Jerry Purvis    news@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Kay Grote/Gering Citizen - The No. 1 doubles team of Jason Doll (left) and Alex Lupher take relax as they exit the court after a successful match. Both players were singles competitors until coach Justin Reinmuth switched them to doubles partners. 
Both Alex Lupher and Jason Doll have come up through the ranks playing tennis, but this season took them to a new level of success as the No. 1 doubles team for Gering.
Lupher is a senior this year and Doll is a junior, so they’ve had some experience with the Gering tennis team.

“We played as a team a few times, but not regularly until this season,” Lupher said. “It seemed to come together pretty well. There’s a lot more strategy involved.”

Both players bring their individual styles to the game. Doll said he plays a more power game, while Lupher brings more spin to his shots.
“We usually watch the other doubles team and how they approach the game,” Lupher said. “It’s a matter of figuring out their weaknesses before we go onto the court. And coach gives us tips on strategy.”

Gering’s regular tennis season might be over, but Doll said they’re still working on making progress each week as they get ready for the state tournament on Oct. 16 – 17 in Lincoln. “Right now, we’re working on doubles strategy and doing a lot of drills.”

“Alex and Jason started the season as our No. 1 and No. 2 singles players, but weren’t having much success,” said Gering tennis coach Justin Reinmuth. “We decided to mix it up and it turned into a winner. They placed at quite few invites.”

Locally, Alliance was the only team to beat the No. 1 doubles team of Lupher and Doll – and that only happened once.

This season, Lupher and Doll went 9-5, losing matches to Kearney, Holdrege, Lexington and Lincoln Christian.
Reinumth said the some of the keys to a good doubles team is to understand slices at the net. “They were used to big, topspin forehands because you’re a baseline player as a single. They had to learn to be more pinpoint accurate because there’s a lot more court out there.”

Matt Palomo, Gering’s first boys’ tennis coach, also coaches tennis in the club setting for younger players. Both Lupher and Doll were among those younger players who came up through the club ranks.
“I really appreciated both Alex and Jason’s attitude toward the game,” Palomo said. “They’re both very smart kids and tennis is such a mental game. They put a lot of work into the game and it shows.”

Palomo coached the pair for about five years before they started playing at the high school level. At the club level, players learn all the fundamentals and how to approach the game. “It’s a credit to Alex and Jason for staying with the program,” he said. “High school teams in general have a few good years, then when the seniors graduate the coach starts again.”

Palomo said the Gering team is doing well since the school added tennis as a varsity sport three years ago. And while tennis isn’t the “hurrah” sport that basketball or football is, it draws some good players who make their marks for both the team and the school.

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