By Paige Carswell
Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams have had to battle a lack of experience this season in two different areas. The women have someone at the No. 6 singles who has never played before this year. The men are playing freshmen in the top three spots. When it comes to conference play at the end of this week, both teams hope to have worked through the kinks that come with inexperience.
That hasn’t mattered too much for the women so far. They are now 2-1 overall this spring and hope to improve that record today against Central Christian College. One player short of a team at the beginning of the year, the women were able to take the court with the addition of Erin Morris, communication freshman. Morris hadn’t played tennis before this, but her addition ensured a full team and the chance to play out the season.
“She has done amazingly well so far, and is picking up the sport very quickly,” said Melissa Roetzer, biology sophomore. “She has helped our team out in numerous ways.”
The team won 8-1 against Central Christian earlier in the season, and Roetzer is hoping for a similar outcome today.
“The first time we played Central Christian, our whole team was successful,” Roetzer said. “I hope that the team can come off the courts proud of themselves, win or lose. I think that it is a good opportunity for each of us to work on our individual game and get ready for our conference matches.”
Katie McNett, English sophomore, said the same. “We did really well the last time we played them, so hopefully we continue that and improve on what we all need to improve on for ourselves.”
On the men’s side, the players are still hoping for the team’s first win. They are 0-4, and lost 9-0 to the Tigers in the last go-around.
Max Manley, the No. 1 singles player, said that it’s difficult being No. 1 in his first year, but there are also positive aspects to the position.
“Being number one as a freshman is really cool,” said Manley. “It’s tough, though, because everyone I play has more experience than me. But being number one also allows me to gain more experience really quick.”
Manley and his teammates hope to use their gained experience to improve on the men’s sixth-place mark in the conference last season. And, he isn’t getting discouraged, thanks in part to head coach Randy Smith.
“(He) is a really optimistic coach,” said Manley. “He talks about how great this freshman class is going to be in a couple years. He’s already helped me a lot. I’ve gotten much better just since the beginning of the school year thanks to him.”
Though he’s still searching for his first win, Manley is staying positive. “Even though I haven’t been winning a lot, I would say that my matches have been getting better with everyone I play,” he said. “I’ve been learning a lot and I’m starting to give the other guys more of a challenge.”
Paige Carswell is a senior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.