Perrysburg’s Jeffrey Schorsch can deliver a screaming serve that freezes an opponent.
The senior left-hander is also capable of consistently returning tough shots with a strong backhand.
Yet, it’s as much the little things that Schorsch does routinely on a tennis court that makes him not only one of the best players in the area, but in all of Ohio.
“He’s a dream come true for any high school tennis coach,” Perrysburg coach Mark Weider said. “He’s a phenom. He’s incredible, and he’s good on and off the court.”
Schorsch reached the Division I state semifinals last season, losing to Lakota East’s Zach Mueck 6-2, 1-6, 6-2. He lost in the third-place match 6-2, 6-1 to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit’s Aaron Sandberg, who is also a senior. Those were his only losses last year after starting with 24 victories.
Without a doubt, Schorsch, a three-time Northern Lakes League champion and three-time state tournament qualifier, begins this season among the favorites to contend for a state championship.
“He is playing state-caliber competitive tennis right now,” Weider said. “I think he’s got a very good opportunity to win a state title.”
Schorsch has not only never lost an NLL match, entering this week with a 23-0 career record in league play, he’s never dropped a set against any of his league opponents.
"Basically, I just go out there and focus my game with their games," Schorsch said. "It’s been working with great success.
"It really has come down to hard work in the offseason and that prepares me for the season."
He started playing at the age of 5. He practices six days a week and has dedicated a lot of the time working on improving his serve since last spring.
"I have a lot more pop on it and power and it’s really more consistent," Schorsch said.
The Yellow Jackets coach believes Schorsch is efficient and does well limiting mistakes while making the most of opportunities during a match.
“He’s a lefty, and that poses problems for most right-handed players,” Weider said. “They have problems with his spin on the ball, and he’s really a terrific server.”
Schorsch, who has earned a scholarship to Valparaiso University, reached the state tournament in singles as a freshman after finishing second at the district. He then played doubles as a sophomore and qualfied to state with a district title. Last season he won the district singles crown.
Weider said Schorsch's success is a tribute to his year-round commitment to not only playing but working to improve his overall strength and conditioning.
“He’s bigger, stronger, faster, and more determined to win than last year,” Weider said.
Added St. Francis de Sales coach Mark Faber of Schorsch: “I think there are a few players in the area who stand out, but he competes well, and he’s got a pretty solid all-around game. He’s also more experienced than the others.”
Among those other top players are Central Catholic junior Dugan Delp, who was a state qualifier last season, and St. John’s Jesuit sophomore Kevin Brown.
Delp, the Irish’s No. 1 player, has been among the area’s best players since his freshman season and was district runner-up last year.
He was the Three Rivers Athletic League champion last season and never lost a league match.
“He had a phenomenal season last year,” Central coach Jesse MacDonald said. “We want him to get to state again.”
Delp has started 4-2, but his two losses were to Schorsch and Brown.
“I thought Kevin [Brown] certainly played well and Jeff [Schorsch] was just too tough playing indoors,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald said Delp continues to make strides with each season.
“I’d consider Dugan an all-court player,” MacDonald said. “He serves big. He’s very good at the net and playing on the baseline.”
The 6-foot Delp entered the season with his goals quite clear. His state tournament experience as a sophomore — losing 6-1, 6-4 to Sandberg of Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit in an opening-round match — provided him with plenty of motivation.
“He wants to have a better showing in the big games,” MacDonald said. “His serving is one area we’ve been working on and his ability to hit his backhand on the run.
“He’s certainly one of the top players in the area. I’d say he’s probably one of the top five players. He’s very level-headed. His mental strength is not too up and not too down.”
An early-season 6-2, 6-3 win over Delp revealed just how much Brown has been steady in his development.
“He’s only a sophomore, and I really feel he’s doing extremely well,” St. John’s coach Jim Davis said of Brown, who was a D-I state doubles team qualifier last season.
Besides growing physically, Brown returned to St. John’s this year with a more mature tennis game. He improved with competition in summer tournaments and is now the Titans’ No. 1 singles player.
“He has more match experience this year,” Davis said of Brown, who began the week 6-2. “He’s doing a much better job of getting to the net.”
Contact Donald Emmonst at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302, or on Twitter @ DemmonsBlade.