Tennis teams take the court for Puget Sound
The men’s and women’s tennis seasons are underway. Both teams have competed in five matches, four of which were conference matches. Additionally, both teams have a new head coach, Matthew Simons, which is somewhat unusual because both teams have different traveling schedules.
A current senior, Riley Inn, has been a member of the men’s tennis team for all four years of his college career. He described the beginning of their season: “We were all starting slow and having to catch up, but we have been focusing on starting strong so we don’t have to dig ourselves out of the hole!”
The women’s team is currently ranked in seventh place and the men are in ninth place in the Northwest Conference. In the preseason poll the men’s tennis team was expected to finish the 2019 season in ninth place, and the women are expected to finish in fifth place.
Inn described the aspects the men’s team hopes to improve on: “Finishing our opponents and keeping our foot on the pedal instead of relaxing when we are up. There have been several individual matches where we have been up but let our opponents come from behind to win. We want to focus on closing out matches and finish strong!”
Women’s senior captain Nicki Bouche explained the categories that the women’s team want to focus on in the upcoming weeks. “We have been working on developing a competitive atmosphere during practices, so we want to be able to apply that drive and ‘fight’ attitude towards our upcoming matches,” Bouche said.
Recently the women’s team competed against Whitworth University, the second-ranked team in conference, and barely lost 4-5. Bouche won her individual match in addition to her match with partner Lisa Owens.
Moving forward, Bouche discussed an exciting upcoming match. “The one that comes to mind right away is our rematch against Whitworth on April 13. I think it will be pretty intense because we were tied for fourth in conference with them last year and we barely just lost to them last weekend,” Bouche said.
Bouche discussed her thoughts about the first couple weeks of season: “I am so impressed by the level of competition and determination that the team has displayed so far in the season — even though it’s relatively early, every single player on the team seems like they have already been playing conference matches for months.”
The men’s team gained six new players for the upcoming season and returned six, whereas the women’s team gained four first-years and returned seven members. The large number of returners can assist the continuation of momentum from prior years.
Bouche described the efforts and her impressions of the first-years: “I’m especially proud of our newest players, who have been throwing themselves into matches with their full effort and dedication even though they are probably still figuring out how to handle all of the stress and excitement that comes with being in season.”
The men’s and women’s teams both compete tomorrow at Willamette University in Oregon. The women play at noon and the men play at 1 p.m.