Competition heats up in first matches of the season

Tennis making a racket in early season play

By Noah Weiland

Times;color:#222222;letter-spacing:-.2pt;mso-font-kerning:.5pt”>Men’s and women’s tennis are at different points in their seasons, but both have the same goal: win. After a 7–0 shutout of Chicago State on January 27th where not a single match went to three sets, the men’s team is preparing for two matches in two days starting tonight in a match against Case in Notre Dame, IN. The second match takes place tomorrow afternoon at home against Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Times;color:#222222;letter-spacing:.1pt;mso-font-kerning:.5pt”>“The matches are just starting now, so you don’t know too much about the opposing teams,” head coach Marty Perry said. “Case always plays us tough on the men’s side, and we had two tough matches last year with them. This is the highest ranked team Wisconsin-Whitewater has had in a while.”

Times;color:#222222;letter-spacing:.1pt;mso-font-kerning:.5pt”>“Case and Whitewater are our first D-III matches of the year, and I have high expectations of our team,” fourth-year Will Zhang added. “Case played us tough last year at when we beat them, so I’m looking for them to fight hard again.”

Times;color:#222222;letter-spacing:-.3pt;mso-font-kerning:.5pt”>The men’s team has benefited from some early season match experience that will likely help them going into the D-III part of the schedule.

Times;color:#222222;letter-spacing:-.3pt;mso-font-kerning:.5pt”>“So far the season has been good,” fourth-year Kunal Pawa said. “Our first match was very close and we could have won. Our last match was convincing. This weekend sets the tone for the rest of the season, and it’s important we get off to a good start since we have a very competitive team.”

Times;color:#222222;letter-spacing:-.3pt;mso-font-kerning:.5pt”>“Our matches against D-I teams have helped prepare for our tough schedule,” Zhang continued. “It’s very early in the season still, but I think we have the potential to have a great year. We need to learn to mentally stay in matches better and maintain our intensity when playing tougher teams.”

Times;color:#222222;letter-spacing:-.3pt;mso-font-kerning:.5pt”>The team’s youthfulness is perhaps the most crucial determinant of the early season. Four of the six singles players in the lineup against Chicago State were first- or second-years.

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Times;color:#222222;mso-font-kerning:.5pt”>we’ve added conditioning workouts to improve our fitness,” third-year Jennifer Kung said. “I think we’re all excited to finally start playing matches this weekend.”

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Times;color:#222222;letter-spacing:-.3pt;mso-font-kerning:.5pt”>To take advantage of that solidarity, the team looks forward to its first official match.

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mso-font-kerning:.5pt”>“I think our whole team is playing well right now,” Kung concluded. “We try to give each other advice about what to work on and what areas of our games need to be better. Everyone’s working hard, but it’s tough to be certain of how well we’re playing until we actually start playing matches.”