Of course, Matt Bouggy misses strapping on his shin guards.
Prior to his junior year, Bouggy had to make the tough decision to give up soccer. Now a senior, he’s having a strong tennis season with high expectations to cap his Central Catholic athletic career.
“If I am going anywhere with tennis, I couldn’t continue playing both in the same season,” Bouggy said. “Also, a big reason was my junior year was going to be really hard academically and it was a big-time commitment to play both sports. I didn’t want to bring down my grades because I was playing the two sports, so I decided on tennis.”
Bouggy still competes in two fall sports, doubling as the kicker for the football team, but that doesn’t take nearly the time commitment that competing in soccer practices and matches would have.
At the Knights’ No. 1 singles player, Bouggy has lost just once this season, falling to Guerin Catholic’s Cameron Metzger in a match where the third set became a 10-point tiebreaker so the players could finish while it was still daylight.
On Saturday, Bouggy won the No. 1 singles title at the Delphi Invitational in that fashion, beating Western’s Judson Quinn in a 10-point tiebreaker for the third set.
Bouggy is the link between this year’s young Central Catholic team and some recent Knights teams that were among the best in program history. The lone senior’s attitude has been contagious for a CC roster that includes one junior, two sophomores and four freshmen.
“It’s a big inspiration. A couple years ago I think he was playing three singles and he has gotten a lot better, 10 times better,” freshman Max Curtis said.
Credit for Bouggy’s improvement is split several ways, from lessons at Purdue and in Indianapolis, hitting with first-year head coach Vinod Mahalingam and Bouggy’s personal desire to get better.
“I think he knows what he needs to do. It’s just a matter of he needs to bring it out for himself,” Mahalingam said. “There’s the combination of me telling him what to do and him doing them in practice and in matches, doing those right things.”
Bouggy has been focused on making the adjustments and he’s noticed a difference from last year — his first season playing No. 1 singles for CC — and this season.
Now much improved, Bouggy hopes his career ends at the state finals, where as a No. 1 singles player he can qualify as an individual. Last year Bouggy lost in the regional round.
“I never said it out loud, but that is definitely the goal, to get to state,” Bouggy said. “I got to regionals last year, but I feel like I am a different player this year and I can do a lot better.”
Improved skills have helped shape Bouggy’s game, but it’s another area he’s developed that has him with increased goals.
“Confidence,” he said. “I know I can hit the shot I need to hit at a given time.”