Serve-and-volley style perfect for Loveland

Bobby Loveland

WOODSTOCK — Bobby Loveland’s playing style is not one that’s seen often at any level of tennis.

While the serve-and-volley game has faded over the years at all levels, the Central senior wouldn’t want to play any other way.

“It’s kind of like an adrenaline rush,” Loveland said of the serve-and-volley. “You hit a nice serve and you’re running up towards the net and you’re on your feet. Basically if it’s a good enough serve and you can get your feet right, you can win that point if you hit the volley correctly.”

Loveland said hitting volleys is one of his biggest strengths, so the serve-and-volley game just makes sense for him.

It’s a game that has served him well for Central.

Loveland said he started playing competitively in eighth grade. He played in exhibition matches for Central, but couldn’t play in any varsity level team matches.

As a freshman, Loveland played at No. 3 seed for the Falcons and said it was a valuable learning experience for him.

“Nick Andrick and Colbey Ryman were one and two that year. I really liked playing with them,” Loveland said.

Loveland said that they helped make him better, and the following year he played at No. 1.

Loveland said playing at No. 1 was a great experience.

“That was awesome. I felt like the coolest kid in town,” Loveland said. “It was challenging, because I would go to a lot of schools and a lot of times in high school tennis what you see is they have a lot of really good one seeds and then they got a bunch of decent guys [behind the one seed].”

Last year didn’t start out the way Loveland wanted it to. Loveland lost the top spot to his best friend and classmate, Sam Barbour.

“Any revolution you see in history when the king gets knocked off his throne, he’s not really happy about it,” Loveland said. “The worst part is that Sam’s my best friend, so I was really happy for him. He did really well in the postseason. I was really proud of him.”

Central coach Luke Robinson said that he was impressed with how well Loveland handled moving back a spot on the team.

“I never once heard negative stuff toward Sam,” Robinson said. “They’re just good friends, so that helps. He was there for Sam at conference and at regionals, almost his No. 1 fan, really, and that was good to see.”

This season, one of Loveland’s goals is to get the top spot back from Barbour.

The two also play doubles together and Loveland said that no matter who is at No. 1, he wants them to do well in doubles as well.

Robinson said both Loveland and Barbour are great leaders for the team.

While he likes the serve-and-volley, Robinson said that Loveland’s ground strokes are very solid.

“Stroke-wise, Bobby has the best strokes on the team,” Robinson said. “He looks like a true tennis player when he’s playing. You can tell that he’s had the experience, but it’s just getting him to apply it at the right time.”

Loveland decided to play basketball this year, and said he hasn’t played much tennis in the off-season. However, he doesn’t have to look far to get some tips on playing the game.

Loveland said his mom plays a lot, and is a big part of the reason he took up tennis in the first place.

“After every match, we talk about it. It’s nice having a parent there that knows the game,” Loveland said. “She gives me constructive criticism. She’s definitely had a big influence on me. I probably wouldn’t be playing tennis if it weren’t for her.”

While he also enjoys playing basketball, Loveland said that he loves tennis because it’s an individual sport and winning or losing is all up to you.

With several players back from last year’s squad that went to the Region 3A East tournament, Loveland said he thinks it’s going to be a good year for the Falcons.

“I really want to make this a good one with Sam,” Loveland said. “I’m liking the team that I’m seeing.

“… I think it’s going to be a fun season.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com