Over the course of this year, both men’s and women’s tennis teams have experienced impressive amounts of success. For the women, these results have become a usual occurrence. For the men, however, a season that has the team on the cusp of a CCIW tournament championship is not as much of a foregone conclusion.
Both teams’ losses have come outside of their CCIW matches. For the women, the team is 8-0 in CCIW play and 19-2 overall. The men are 5-0 in the CCIW and 12-7 throughout the season.
Since losing two matches straight in Oberlin, Ohio a few weeks ago, the men’s team has been firing on all cylinders, winning four straight series of matches. The women’s team has been similarly unstoppable by winning five straight games, last losing down south in Orlando, Flor. The women’s dominance has been perfectly exemplified by the fact that they have only lost two matches out of the past five match series, or 45 matches.
For the men’s team, senior Justin Ancona has been the team’s backbone, winning two CCIW Men’s Tennis Player of the Week awards. Sophomore Dane Paulsen and senior Matt Steiner also have stepped up and played large roles for the Thunder. Junior Katie Park has been on top of her game for the women’s team as the #1 singles, as well as senior Emily Jones and junior Miranda Kay.
Overall, the men’s team has much to be proud of, due to the team’s rocky start at the beginning of the season, which saw the team struggle to an initial record of 0-3.
“We have played an extremely difficult schedule this year including matches against a number of nationally ranked teams early on,” junior Karl Wenzel explained. “The team has done a great job rising to the occasion and is better because of it.”
Both men’s and women’s teams believe they have the talent and chemistry to be able to win their respective CCIW tournaments, which would give each team automatic NCAA tournament bids.
After losing to Carthage in the final match of the CCIW tournament last year by a score of 5-3 to Carthage, the men’s team is out for redemption during this year’s go-around. For the women, the team hopes to defend its 2016 CCIW title.
The thoughts of both teams can be summed up with the words of Wenzel, “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to compete for a berth in the national tournament and believe we have both the talent and the depth to win the CCIW.”