Thursday, 14 June 2018 16:00

Q&A With Nebraska Rising Senior Toby Boyer

Written by Big Ten Tennis
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University of Nebraska rising senior Toby Boyer recently finished up his third year of playing for the Scarlet and Cream and with his final season just around the corner we wanted to get to know a little more about the Ham Lake, Minnesota, native. This past season Boyer anchored the Huskers' lineup for the second season in a row while winning 26 singles matches which was the fourth most single-season wins in program history. Boyer has played No. 1 doubles in each of his three seasons in Lincoln which included playing with his older brother, Dusty, in the 2015-16 season. Boyer has also excelled off the court being named to the Nebraska Scholar Athlete Honor Roll on three occasions plus being a two-time member of the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team.  

CTT: You played a lot of sports growing up - how did you decide on tennis?

TB:  I remember at one point Dusty and I were in 5 sports each at the same time. Basketball, baseball, tennis, gymnastics and soccer. Our parents threw us in everything and basically said we could pick whatever we liked. My dad homeschooled Dusty and I, and spent every day working with us in basketball, baseball and tennis. Baseball was our best sport no doubt. It’s pretty crazy I had to pick between baseball and tennis at the age of 13 as they were the same high school season. I chose tennis probably because Dusty did as well. My mom played college softball and basketball for North Dakota State and basketball for University of North Dakota. My dad played some small college tennis but both of my parents are basketball junkies to the fullest so it’s kind of crazy we came out with tennis. Most of the time growing up I was tagging along and watching Dusty go through it all. My dad worked him so hard in these sports to make him into the athlete he is. I was content watching him get worked into the ground and learning from his success and mistakes.

CTT: Looking at your junior career it's clear you got better and better as you got older which is really hard to accomplish. Can you attribute that to anything in particular? Did your older brother Dusty make you better? Did you drop other sports and focus on tennis? Did you always consider yourself a D1 tennis player as a junior?

TB: I had a really strange junior career compared to most kids I’m sure. In all of my junior career I believe I played 5 national tournaments total if you don’t count team zonalz. I was always #1 or toward the top in 12s and 14s in my section. As 16s came around I wasn’t hardly playing tennis. I averaged 3-4 tourneys a year from age 14-17 and that was tough on my game but I think really good for me as it made me realize how much I like tennis. I probably played tennis 4 months out of the year in that time period. I was playing varsity basketball my sophomore and junior year. I lost in the state final of tennis 3 years in a row and just couldn’t handle losing anymore, so my senior I decided to stop messing around and see how good I could get at tennis. My whole life I saw myself playing both college basketball and tennis somewhere. I thought it would be so cool to play both at a MIAC school. I remember talking about it with my dad all the time and that’s what I had in mind. Then Dusty got pretty good at tennis so I figured why can’t I. 


CTT: How did you decide on Nebraska? I'm sure Minnesota had a lot of interest given you are from Minnesota. Probably Wisconsin too. Did you look at other programs? Did Dusty playing there seal the deal?

TB: I visited Nebraska, Louisville, and Minnesota. I talked some to Michigan State and some other schools as well. Wisconsin made a late play at me otherwise I would’ve taken a visit there for sure. It came down to Minnesota and Nebraska. It was a very tough decision. It’s a really tough decision for a 18 year old to decide if I wanted to stay home where a lot of my family and grandparents could watch me or if I wanted to get away and join my brother. Dusty and Coach Mcdermott were the main reasons of my decision for sure. I completely trusted Coach Mac. And I now love Nebraska and everything about it.




CTT: Was it fun to play with an older brother at Nebraska for a year or so? You played doubles for '15-16 season. How did that work out? Amicably or lots of arguing?

TB: It was pretty cool to play a season with my brother that’s for sure. I loved that group of guys my freshman year and had a blast. Dusty was the best college doubles player I’ve seen to this day, I swear. We had a pretty good season and didn’t lose much. If I ever tried to poach he’d yell at me right away as he just wanted to out rally everyone. Other than that, wasn’t much arguing. It’s too bad he didn’t have a really good partner to do some serious damage with.


Boyer Bros


CTT: So you're a senior now and obviously a team leader playing #1 singles and #1 doubles? What's it like to have that role on the team?

TB: Playing #1 is a huge role in the big ten and I need to step it up. I’m not close to where I want to be. I try to be a leader on and off the court as much as possible and I think my teammates respect me for that.


CTT: What is Nebraska doing to get better this Summer and Fall? Will you go home or stay around campus?

TB: We really need our guys to get out there and play futures I think. I’m going to California to train with Dusty and some other guys in Irvine and then I’ll go overseas somewhere to play, where Dusty goes and when I don’t have my summer class in Lincoln. I'll be all over the place and hopefully back in Minnesota for a week or two as well. 


CTT: Nebraska had a winning home record but struggled in the Big 10 matches despite a number of close matches like Indiana, Wisconsin, Purdue and Northwestern. How did that weigh on you and the team as the season progressed?

TB: Losing sucks. At one point I almost got used to losing and it was just in my head for sure. You have to try and block that out to help the team as much as possible. I think this next year we’ll get a few of those.




CTT: Looking at your season record you had a winning campaign but at one point lost four 3 setters in a row and another match 4-6, 4-6. That had to be super tough knowing you were in each match but didn't get the W. How did you handle that mentally? 

TB: Overall, I improved a ton since last season and can’t complain with my year. However, there wasn’t more than two players that I felt like were just too good. You have to be there and ready to go every match at #1 in the big ten. When I was losing in the big ten, I can’t remember the last time I was so frustrated. I found myself hitting a wall and getting tired in these 3rd sets. I struggle with iron anemia and I need to do a better job of staying healthy.


CTT: Do you have any pre match rituals? Are you superstitious about anything when playing?

TB: I am usually playing my best when I’m singing a song in my head throughout a tournament or match. In-between points, if one of my feet steps on the line, my other has to. 


The following was a question for former head coach Kerry McDermott - what do you appreciate about having Toby on the Husker squad?

KM: Toby Boyer has been good for our team because he has shown since the 1st day he arrived on campus that hard work and dedication will take you far! He has improved every year since he has been here and was a kid that kind of flew under the radar but we felt his potential would be in college and we’ve been so grateful to have him on our team!


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