Fall Sports Preview: Tennis
Both the Men’s and Women’s Tennis team had impressive 2018-2019 seasons, both nearly resulting in conference championships for both teams. The men’s team came up short against Tiffin University in the G-MAC championship, while the women’s team ended the season against Hillsdale College in the G-MAC semifinal. Head Coach, Doug Linden, is ready to break through and win the conference championships with new lessons learned.
“Working hard day-to-day is what’s needed to really achieve the goals that you want to achieve,” Linden said. “We made it to the finals in the men’s, and we were very close, and that’s what we try to do every year is put ourselves in that position to compete for the conference championship. I feel like this year, we have the opportunity to be competing for the top 4 for both teams.”
One area Linden is looking forward to on the women’s team is the incoming depth.
“With the recruits that we have that have come in as freshmen this year, especially on out women’s side, we’ve got quite a bit more depth,” Linden said. “I think that will help us move
forward in the pursuit of those conference championships.”
With the conference championships just out of reach for both teams last year, the current offseason was one full of motivation.
“We were close. Being that close made it hurt a little bit more when we didn’t achieve our goal,” Linden stated. “I think that motivated the players to work hard in the offseason, [and] in the summer…The intensity looks a little bit better in practices, even early on. So, I think it does motivate you.”
With the motivation under the teams’ belts, both teams are ready to work on the strengths Linden believes both teams have. Linden went on to say that while both teams are young, the depth of both teams is a strength of theirs.
Of course, there are always areas of improvement for both teams. Linden hopes to tackle some areas of improvement during practices.
For those who are not familiar with tennis, tennis matches can vary from only 3 sets, all the way up to over ten sets. Linden does prepare the athletes for the unpredictability of the match lengths.
“We will have some doubleheaders this year, which requires a little more endurance” Linden commented. “We do that [working on endurance] by not only playing and trying to get practices close to matches [in respect to time] as we can, but also [by] the conditioning to make the practices even tougher than what we will see in a match.”
With the loss of seniors to graduation comes that time for the new group of seniors to step up in leadership. Linden is happy with how this year’s group leadership and team chemistry.
“[The team’s chemistry is] very good,” Linden said. “The chemistry, I think, is looking very good with both teams. [They] get along, practice hard, together and the cohesiveness of both teams, I think is very strong.” Linden also mentioned how both the men’s and women’s teams also do activities together outside of practice.
Linden is also excited to work with newly promoted coach, Jeff Westmeyer, more. Westmeyer, the assistant coach, had only been a part-time coach. Starting this season, Westmeyer will be a full-time coach, alongside Linden.
“We’re really excited about the work he’s doing with both programs,” Linden stated. “He
deals slightly more with the women’s, but we both, myself and him, work with both team…We’re
real excited with the knowledge and the background he has. He’s helping to make both
programs better this year and going forward.”
The men’s team begins their season on September 14th against Oberlin University in
Findlay, while the women’s team begins their season on September 13th at the Bowling Green
Invitational in Bowling Green, Ohio.