Josh Evans | The Journal Gazette David Heiney, Homestead's No. 1 singles player, is 18-1 heading into sectional play. “This year I think the team chemistry is quite a bit better than last year. We're cheering a lot more for each other,” he says of his assigned role of team motivator. “I've been trying to hype everyone up.”
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 1:00 am
Spartans' No. 1 player team's top booster, too
On eve of sectionals, Heiney 18-1, thriving in role of cheerleader
JOSH PATTERSON | For The Journal Gazette
After earning All-State honors in each of his first two seasons at No. 1 singles for No. 4 Homestead, there's not much David Heiney has left to prove on the court.
But still Spartans coach Kerry Mumma met with the junior prior to this season and issued the following challenge – act more demonstrative on the court. Be it fist pumps after big points or high fiving teammates, but relish the role of getting everyone else fired up.
Heiney's rolled to another impressive year as the team's top player, currently 18-1, with his lone loss coming to Ian Brady of Indianapolis North Central at the Panthers' John Shirley Invitational in August.
In terms of Mumma's challenge, he has more than stepped up there as well.
“This year I think the team chemistry is quite a bit better than last year,” Heiney said. “We're cheering a lot more for each other. I've been trying to hype everyone up, (junior varsity), varsity, anyone that could use it.”
Already well-traveled on the Midwest tennis circuit even before enrolling at Homestead, Heiney's buy-in to the team concept has impressed Mumma. Heiney's accepting and thriving in the role of emotional leader has just brought on additional appreciation for the Spartans coach.
“With our schedule and for him to be 18-1 is just unheard of,” Mumma said. “He has the best record on our team, and playing (No. 1 singles) he plays the toughest competitors from every school.
“David has completely bought into the team. He cares about the other matches, he cares about how the (junior varsity) is doing, he cares about his teammates. As a coach, it's probably one of the more fulfilling things. I've been impressed with how he has stepped up.”
Heiney's leadership, both on the court and as Homestead's unofficial hype man, will prove even more crucial as sectionals begin today across Indiana. The Spartans, hosts of one of seven area sectionals, stand as a favorite to advance out of their sectional.
The Spartans previously swept No. 19 Canterbury 5-0, the other ranked foe in the four-team field at Homestead. With that victory already in place, it might be easy for Heiney and his teammates to look ahead to regionals, where a likely matchup against sixth-ranked and defending regional champion Leo or No. 10 Carroll could await.
“We've beaten both of those schools this year, but I said until we beat one of them in regionals they're still on top,” Mumma said. “You try to prepare your kids, but at this point for them they have nothing to lose. They're going to come out to play, and I don't want them to overlook Canterbury.”
Echoing his coach's sentiments, Heiney explained the combination of an experienced coach in Mumma and a veteran lineup will provide multiple safeguards against complacency.
“Our coach will do a good job of making us focus,” Heiney said. “We have a lot of experienced players on our team, a lot of senior leaders and good players that have played a lot of tournaments, so I don't know if the overconfidence will be much of a problem.
“I'm hoping the pressure won't be either.”