Tennis teams host Cru Challenge

The spring semester has begun, which means the Cru and Lady Cru tennis teams have hit the hard court. Both squads are back and looking to return to the post season and make a run for the American Southwest Conference championship.

Both teams have started their season off at the Crusader Challenge Tournament Feb. 8-9. The competition took place at Yvonne Li Tennis Center and the Cru hosted conference rival Howard Payne University, as well as division III rivals Austin College and Southwestern University. The tournamnet was on pace to have a number of Crusdaers finishing on top.  But due to rainy weather, the remaining matches were cancelled.

Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach James Cohagan talked about the importance of the Crusader Challenge.

“This tournament is a great preseason test, and it is great that we will have three division III schools of fairly similar and close abilities,” Cohagan said.

Senior psychology major Will Summers also described the Cru Challenge event.

“The Cru Challenge is different than most tournaments. It’s flighted, meaning each team puts their number one player versus the next team’s number one player in a tournament format,” he said.

“It is a good litmus test for the team to see how hard we will need to work to accomplish our goals, and allows us to get some match play before conference begins, which is immeasurably crucial at this stage.”

Sophomore exercise and sport science major Angelie Juaneza agreed.

“The Cru Challenge Tournament is a good way to start off the season because it is getting everyone ‘match ready,’ ’’ she said.

Last  tennis season, the men went 9-7 overall, but were 5-1 in conference play. The Cru fell in the conference tournament to the University of Texas-Dallas. The women went 12-6 overall, and were also 5-1 in conference play. The Lady Cru defeated Mississippi College before falling to eventual conference champions, the University of Texas-Tyler.

Summers expressed the men’s aspirations this season.

“Our goal is to win the American Southwest Conference West division and get a round further in the post season than last year,” he said.

Junior nursing major Chaley Shiffler invisions success for the lady Cru.

“The team’s goals this season are to become more consistent individually and stronger as a team. We have worked hard and have already seen an improvement this season. The team is looking great so far, and I think we have enthusiastic players that will keep our team together,” she said.

Both men and women will host Letourneau University in their first team tennis matches of the season  Feb. 23.

Author: Jake Stamps

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