With the season halfway over for both men’s and women’s tennis, the teams are looking toward postseason with their expectations set high for the rest of the season.
“Some of my team goals for the season are to continue to build strong team chemistry and to work on things as a whole that need to be improved,” sophomore computer science major Jimmy Turner said. “We have a great team this year, and if we keep working at it as a team, we should and are very capable of winning the West this season.”
With tennis being more of a personalized sport than most, Head Coach James Cohagan trains with each player to help him or her work specifically on what needs improvement.
“Tennis is such an individual sport that the things we work on are different for different players,” he said. “We want to have each player’s weapon always sharp and to improve our biggest weakness so that it does not hurt us as much as it has in the past.”
With conference matches being the majority of the games left to be played this season, both the men and women are working hard in practice to be ready for the matches. They have also prepared themselves by playing tough teams to help the team improve on their game.
“Our best preparation is to play a very tough schedule to push us to perform better in the heart of our season. Not all teams are tough enough mentally to battle through a tough schedule and continue working on playing better and stay mentally strong in tough conditions. This group has done that so far this year,” Cohagan said.
This year’s team consists of four seniors, two on each team: psychology major Megan Aarhus, exercise and sport science major Mallory Aarhus, mass communication/journalism major Garrett Pekar and sport management major Josh Pownall.
With four years of tennis played at UMHB for Megan Aarhus, this season is bittersweet.
“It’s saddening to think about,” she said. “Tennis has been a huge part of my life, and as it comes to a close, I only pray I give it my all. It’s going to be sad to leave these guys who have become a family and what I love.”
Both the men and women still have some difficult schools to face before the season is over. However, new strategies are in place to try and bring more wins for the Cru.
“University of Texas-Dallas and University of Texas-Tyler will probably be our toughest competition,” Aarhus said. “We are trying new things in doubles, and, hopefully, that will be a factor in our outcome of the matches.”
This season two players have been recognized as American Southwest Conference West Division Players of the Week. For the week ending March 6, freshman exercise and sport science major Angelie Juaneza was awarded this honor. Mallory Aarhus was named the player of the week for the week ending March 20.
Overall both the men and women are staying focused for the remainder of the season and continuing to improve each day.
Both the men and women return to action March 29 against Southwestern University at 3 p.m. in Georgetown for a non-conference match-up.
“As a team we are working very hard to keep winning. We are practicing a lot of doubles to make sure there is less pressure on the singles players come match time,” Turner said. “We are conditioning hard and continue to get better everyday.”