Tennis rackets up for wins in conference

The tennis teams begin the meat of their conference play to close out the month. Hoping to recover from a few tough losses to strong non-conference and early conference play, the Crusaders hope to finish strong.

“We’ve had the toughest non-conference schedule,” freshman sports management major Josh Pownall said. “We’ve been competing very well. It has taken some very strong opponents to have beaten us.”

The men’s team lost the overall match  Friday against Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The match went 8-1. On Saturday the Cru also played Schreiner University and dominated the Mountaineers with a 9-0 victory.

The team remains optimistic that these few losses will not keep them out of the conference tournament.

“We are entering the ‘hot spot’ of our schedule,” Pownall said. “We have a bunch of must-win matches in the next two or three weeks. We really need to win these upcoming matches, and I think our team can pull them out.”

One of the biggest challenges facing both the men’s and women’s tennis teams is inexperience.

“I’ve had trouble adapting to the collegiate level,” Pownall said. “I feel like everything is there for me to win, but I haven’t been able to put it together consistently. I feel like our team has the same problem as well.”

As for the women’s tennis team, the Lady Cru have been more successful so far than the men’s team. However, they still have their work cut out for them this season.

“I think the team has done pretty well so far,” sophomore exercise and sport science major Rebecca Everett said. “Our team has definitely improved since the beginning of the season. We hope to win conference this year, and I am confident that we can do it.”

Everett also commented on the mental aspect of the game of tennis.

“Tennis is a very mentally challenging game,” she said. “I tend to get down on myself too much when I am losing. Staying mentally tough is a big part in winning a match, and that is something that I work on everyday, and I feel that I am improving. The same goes for the team as well.”

While the tennis players face tough mental challenges on the courts, they also face problems in the classroom as they juggle homework, practice and games.

“Being an athlete and a student can be hard at times,” Everett said. “You don’t have as much time for school work like others do, but I feel that I manage my school work better knowing that I have to get things done because my time is so limited.”

Although the season is not over, the men and women are looking forward to next season and to new players who may join the team.

“All of those who are hoping to join the tennis team next year, be ready to work hard and dedicate yourself,” Everett said. “It is very time consuming with school and everything, but it is a lot of fun and in the end, it is worth it.”

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