Crusader tennis starts the year hard at work practicing for what they hope will be another winning season this spring. Neither the men nor women will play their first match until late February, but they have begun preparing to hit the ground running. Both teams are coming off of winning seasons and are looking to improve this spring.
The head coach for men and women is James Cohagan. His take on the spring 2012 season is, “We’re excited for (the season) to start. … It’s hard for the players and myself to live through the split season,” he said.
Cohagan was referring to the brief season they have in the fall, which consists only of two tournaments.
The long break between September and February leaves the teams ready for the spring season to start.
Freshman international economics major John Martin has begun that split season and can attest that it is a big jump from high school tennis.
However, the extra time between fall and spring has allowed Martin to bond with his team. He also asserts that the team captain has been a big help in the transition to college tennis.
“Josh Pownall talks to all the freshmen and makes sure he knows everyone by name. …” Martin said. “He’s really a good leader in terms of making sure we do what we’re supposed to do and especially making it fun.”
The men finished 4-2 in the ASC and 8-7 overall. Leading the men are seniors sport management major Pownall and mass communication/journalism major Garrett Pekar. On the other hand, the Lady Cru, led by senior twins Megan and Mallory Aarhus, finished 6-0 in conference play, losing only 7 of the 54 matches played in the ASC and 13-6 overall. The ladies took home the ASC West title, and the Aarhus sisters, the NCAA Division III championship veterans, took doubles.
Both the Cru and Lady Cru have been strong in doubles. Cohagan has expressed that this dominance will ease the singles lineups.
Cohagan certainly has quite a duo in his arsenal of doubles teams in the Aarhus sibilings.
Exercise and sport science major Mallory said it is a definite advantage to play double matches with her sister.
“We know everything about each other, how to get along, each other’s limits, strength and weaknesses,” she said.
Leading the men’s doubles from last year is team captain Pownall and Daniel White, who finished 8-6 overall. However, both seniors will graduate at the end of the spring semester.
Among others emerging as leaders are sophomore mass communication/journalism major Jacob Stamps and junior spanish and chemistry major Collin Davies, who will be the veterans on the team behind the only senior for next year, Will Summers.
With six freshmen this semester, these players will have to step up to lead.
February cannot seem to come soon enough for these athletes as they wait in anticipation to hit off to many Crusader victories. With the women coming off such a strong season and the men uniting as a team, as Mallory said, “This year’s got big things in store.”