The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

October 29, 2013

Tennis, anyone? For Torok, yes!

Scott Torok had little to know background in the sport of tennis.

He didn’t even think he’d enjoying coaching it. Nearly two decades later, Torok has made the Geneva program into the one by which all others are measured.

“It’s been very enjoyable,” Torok said. “I didn’t think I’d enjoy this. I wasn’t a tennis guy. I played baseball in high school. Coach (Bob) Walters (of Lakeside) always questions me that I didn’t play tennis.

“I coached softball and tennis. Tennis is what I knew the least about. I watched a lot of matches and a lot of videos on tennis. I learned from some great coaches in Arnie Bradshaw, Bob Kader, Alex Stuetzer and Phil Dubsky.”

After completing his 18th season, Torok’s Eagles are the team everyone aims to beat.

“I’d definitely say there’s pressure,” Torok said. “It’s only news if we lose. I told the girls that. We’re having a sweatshirt made up with PAC champions on the front and a bull’s eye on the back. If you ask Coach (Lou) Murphy (of Jefferson), he always circles the date they play Geneva. We’re not even in the same conference, but he still circles that match. There’s a lot of pressure. Hopefully, we’ll continue the tradition.”      

Torok led Geneva to an 18-3 season and yet another Premier Athletic Conference championship. After losing their first three matches, the Eagles went on a tear, winning their final 18 matches. The doubles team of senior Alyx Lynham and freshman Amy Varckette qualified for the state tournament after playing the entire season at first and second doubles, respectively.

“It wasn’t that we played bad, we just played three very good teams,” Torok said. “Orange sent two doubles teams to state. Revere sent a number of kids to district. We do that on purpose. We want to play better teams so we got better.

“I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. I don’t think anybody was. We got the kinks out and started playing well.”

Torok had lost seven seniors from the 2012 team and still put together the best team in the area. He is the 2013 Star Beacon Ashtabula County Coach of the Year.

“Everybody was around,” Torok said. “Even Amy was around last year. They saw what we accomplished the last couple years. We graduated seven seniors — five who played on a regular basis. You’ve got to credit the girls and Dave Yost, who coaches the  JVs and had girls ready for me to plug in.”

Much of the Eagles’ current success can be traced to the tradition Torok’s teams built early on.

“Success breeds success,” Torok said. “The girls have got to be self motivated, too. We always have a pool of talent to choose from. If they want to play or have a better position, they have to get better and beat the person in front of them. We had 18 or 19 girls last year. We were down to 12 this year and we lose four seniors.”

Torok is quick to deflect any credit tossed his way toward his players, their families, his assistants, and even some of the girls’ private coaches.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the girls and what they want to accomplish,” Torok said. “We provide direction. When I say we, I mean Dave Yost, Arnie Bradshaw, Todd Nassief, Alex Stuetzer and Phil Dubsky. That’s what a coach should do. You’re there to help. You get a feel for their game and you put the pieces in place.

“You’ve got to have the horses. I’ve been fortunate at Geneva to have good girls and good families who are into tennis. That helps.”

As a coach, Torok doesn’t try to force square pegs into round holes. He has a grasp of what each player wants and is willing to work toward.

“I think Alyx wanted to climb the ladder to be No. 1,” Torok said. “Some girls want to be on second doubles and that’s fine. You have to have girls at each spot.”

And what ultimately may be responsible for the Eagles’ success not only in 2013, but in every year prior, is Torok surrounds himself with players who want to be the best.

“They have to be self-motivated,” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s about the girls and what they want to accomplish. We provide direction, and when I say we, I mean Dave Yost, Arnie Bradshaw, Todd Nassief, Alex Stuetzer and Phil Dubsky. That’s what a coach should do. You’re there to help them get a feel for their game and put the pieces in place.”

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula. Reach him at bettinger@starbeacon.com.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Taylor Outlaws edged by a run

    The slimmest of margins proved to be the difference in determining the outcome of a clash between the Ohio Outlaws Gold and the Virginia Shamrocks in the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals on Wednesday in Salem, Va.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Olivia-smile A Don McCormack column: Holt right at home at Mount

    When a young person from this area goes off to college and continues to play sports at the next level, we do feature stories on them.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Twin State Night at Raceway 7 next

    This week is the annual Twin State Club night at Raceway 7. Regular racing will be presented in all five divisions. With the points races nearing their conclusion the racing will be hot as August weather Friday night.

    July 31, 2014

  • Tribe Kluber twirls gem

    “The ace is gone. Long live the ace.” That’s how Indians fans might be looking at matters today.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SB1 Let’s play another

    It pays to have the right hitters at the plate at the right time.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Outlaws roll again

    They may be Outlaws by name, but the Northeast Ohio-based Ohio Outlaws Gold are certainly running with the in crowd at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va.

    July 30, 2014

  • Don A Don McCormack column: Bearcat Gavorski on the mend

    Paying another visit to the variety store...

    On the mend
    Arguably the most decorated soccer player to every come out of the Star Beacon coverage area is down — temporarily — but anything but out.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tribe Not quite enough

    Although the Indians are still very much mathematically alive in the race for a postseason berth, they continue not to look like a playoff team. And when they have put a run together, they haven’t been able to maintain the habit of playing winning baseball.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Outlaws win opener

    The Ohio Outlaws Gold did not start well at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va. on Monday, but they sure did finish their opening encounter with a flourish.

    July 28, 2014

  • Racing remains at the fore

    Raceway 7’s Crate Late Models had an unsanctioned $1000 to win 25-lap feature with Kyle Zimmerman picking up the lion’s share of the glory after leading the entire distance for his first win of 2014.

    July 28, 2014

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video