January 27, 2012

Maroons to open at Kalamazoo with new head coach

With a new coach in place, the women's tennis team will kick off their season with a match at Kalamazoo this Sunday at 1 p.m.

“This match will be an opportunity for a couple of new girls to play, and it will be a good chance for us to see where we are as a team,” head coach Taka Bertrand said.

In order to prepare for their season, the Maroons have been working out early mornings three days a week. Their team workouts take place off the court and consist of conditioning and weight training. Bertrand also said that players have been doing individual training on the court, during the day.

“This is the most work we've done in the off-season since I've been here,” fourth-year Jen Kung said.

Last year, the Maroons defeated the Hornets with ease—the final score was 9–0. The Maroons would go on to finish yet another strong season, placing fourth in the NCAA championship.

“[Coach Bertrand] has really changed things up and her main goal is to help us with conditioning and get us out there. We especially want to get to the National Championship this year, but our main goal is to try to play to the best of our ability and capitalize on important matches,” Kung said.

This season, four first-years will be joining a predominately upperclassmen team.

“[The first-years are] driven, motivated, and dedicated to the sport,” said fourth-year captain Carmen Vaca Guzman. “With the new change-up in our line-up, it will be really exciting to see the freshmen get out there.”

Even with a new and energized team, it will be difficult to predict the outcome of this season with the rise in competition in women's tennis.

“There are a lot more teams with experienced players, and teams have gotten a lot stronger and have added new players,” Vaca Guzman said. “Our biggest competition will be those [who] are most aggressive.”