Adam Gante didn't completely overhaul his tennis game over the winter.
He simply fine tuned it.
The Dallastown senior is still a backboard -- hit the ball to him, and it comes right back.
He also, though, won't hesitate to go for winners with his groundstrokes and serves.
"Last year, I lost some close matches when I was just trying to be consistent," the Wildcats' No. 1 singles player said. "I'm trying to be a bit more aggressive this year. I'm serving bigger and trying to go to the net more, so I don't have to grind all day."
Gante's grind-it-out approach worked pretty well. He helped his team win seven York-Adams League matches last season while losing just one. The Wildcats finished second behind South Western in Division I.
Gante also placed second in the York-Adams Class AAA Singles Tournament to South Western senior Tommy Nicklas.
"Adam is everything a coach dreams of in a player," Dallastown head coach Mark Koons said. "He sets his goals and goes after them. Also, he's raised his game this year. He's hitting harder, serving a lot better and has improved his net game."
Gante's work in the offseason helped take his game to another level.
"I played in a lot of Middle States tournaments (United States Tennis Association events), I took a lot of lessons from trainers around the area, and I hit with the ball machine a lot," he said. "Also, it was a good thing that we were able to play on our outside courts so early (because of the warm, dry weather)."
Gante is hoping that he and the other seniors can close their careers with a championship. The Wildcats are currently 8-1 overall and 3-0 in York-Adams Division I.
"We have a good team, and we're all friends," he said. "We have five seniors in the top eight. We have Red Lion (Thursday), and that's definitely a big rivalry. They want us bad. Later on, we have Central and South Western."
Gante is looking forward to matchups with Red Lion's Grant Williams, Central's Ryan Keffer and South Western's Mack Meyer.
"Keffer has a big forehand and a big serve," Gante said. "Grant likes to keep the ball in play, I'll have to be a little more aggressive in that match.
"Mack will be fun. We split 1-1 last year. I beat him in the York-Adams singles semifinals, and he took me down in three sets in the district tournament. He hits the ball hard, and keeps it in play."
Gante could see any of the above players a second time in the York-Adams singles tournament. After taking second as a junior, it's not difficult to figure out what Gante's goal is this year.
"There's definitely a motivation to get back there this year and hopefully finish it off," he said.
Gante's academic and athletic careers at Dallastown are drawing to a close. He'll move on to college next year, but he isn't sure whether it will be Lebanon Valley or Penn State's main campus. Gante, who plans to major in business with an emphasis on finance, has been accepted at both schools.
"One more visit, and I'll make a decision," he said. "Both have what I'm looking for academically. I guess the tie-breaker will be whether I want to play tennis in college. At Lebanon Valley, I'll be on the team. At Penn State, tennis will be recreational."
Gante will miss being part of Dallastown's team. He started at No. 5 singles as a freshman and climbed the ladder all the way to No. 1.
"This is a little bit of a legacy here," he said. "It's fun being part of this program, and I got to enjoy each day. I've had a lot of good role models."
Reach Dick VanOlinda at dvanolinda@yorkdis patch.com.