By: Will Keyse
The Puget Sound Women’s Tennis team visited the College of Idaho (Caldwell, Idaho) two weekends ago, and emerged with a pair of statement wins to start of their season. The Loggers took both games by a score of 6-3, and three singles players, first-year Lisa Owen (Honolulu, Hawaii), sophomore Nicole Bouche (Brier, Washington) and first-year Barclay Fagg (Billings, Montana) won both of their matches.
With the Loggers notching two wins, they have already matched their season total from a year ago, and the sky’s the limit for the 2017 Puget Sound squad. Overall, the Loggers went 2-16 in the 2016 season, going 1-11 in conference and winning just one match each at home and on the road.
The mood amidst the Loggers is very optimistic for the season, which stems partially from the increase in roster depth. Nicole Bouche weighs in on the change in team dynamic this season:
“Our team has gotten a lot bigger this year, in fact it has doubled in size, so the dynamics are definitely different,” Bouche said. “It is difficult to be as bonded as we were last year since we have more people, but a larger number makes practices a lot more enjoyable and effective. We get to be more competitive in practice and push each other to get better.”
Despite these changes, the players are very happy with the level of camaraderie developed over the offseason.
“Going into the season, I think our team’s biggest strength is the way we’re able to support one another on and off the court” said Lisa Owen, the number 1 singles player. “We’re each others best supporters, and it definitely adds to your own self confidence knowing your team is behind you. Something we should, and are, trying to work on is our competitive mentality. We’ve spent this past fall really trying to prepare well for this upcoming spring physically, so now I feel like we just need to catch up a little bit mentally, and get in a more competitive mindset.”
Many of the losses suffered by the Loggers last season were close contests that came down to an unfortunate ending. Bouche expressed her excitement at the chance to play many of the same teams that beat them last season:
“There isn’t necessarily one specific match that I am excited for, I’m mainly excited to have rematches against certain schools that we were neck and neck with last year, and hopefully pull out the win this year,” Bouche said. “Pacific Lutheran University (Parkland, Washington), Pacific University (Forest Grove, Oregon) and Whitworth University (Spokane, Washington) are all definitely high on my list, I think we’re ready to show them how much we’ve improved.”
The Loggers will look to continue their success this weekend as they host Whitman College (Walla Walla, Washington) and Linfield College (McMinnville, Oregon) at home. The match against Whitman is at 3 P.M. today, the 17th, and the Linfield match will take place tomorrow, the 18th, at 1 P.M.