Men’s and women’s tennis teams prepare for spring season openers

The men’s and women’s tennis teams will begin spring season competition on Saturday, March 4, but they have been preparing for the season since Jan. 24.

“Our spring season is a lot longer, and we also don’t play any conference matches in the fall. We have intense head-to-head matches that are pretty fun, and we do quite a bit more traveling and we end with our conference championship in late April,” said Michaela Thompson, ’17.

Thompson said the team has been working with [Director of Peak Performance and Fitness] Lindsey Craft to do team and individual workouts alongside pool workouts and getting as much on-court practice time as they can in preparation for the season ahead.

Head Coach Jared Luteran said there is more emphasis on the longer spring season because of the number of conference games and the length of the season. The teams will play most NCAC schools, but will not travel to Wabash College or DePauw University due to distance.

“We have a lot of new players, so getting valuable on-court experience and match experience is a big goal and trying to do our best with every match and take what we can,” Thompson said.

Luteran said that for the new players on the team, the fall season was about getting comfortable with collegiate matches, and in the spring season, they will be working on getting more victories and being confident in their playing.

“We want to see both teams peaking at the right times so when we get to the end of the year I want the players to feel like they have improved significantly since the fall,” Luteran said. “Obviously there’s certain goals as far as matches we want to win, but in the end it’s about your overall improvement, and if you’re getting better every day and feel like you are playing to the best of your ability, then that’s what it is all about.”

In order to reach those goals and prepare as best they can, the teams have been working together to design practices that will benefit them most in competitions.

“Pre-season practices are much more specific, and we’ll focus on working on different things as a team. In season, we’ll direct our own practices sometimes, and everyone has their own things they need to work on, so it’s more focused on the individual,” said Colton Johnson Taylor, ’19.

As the season progresses, Thompson said that as the only senior on the team, she is looking to build up the team’s strength in preparation for the coming years.

“I’m really looking forward to feeling comfortable leaving knowing that the program has a lot of new talent and knowing that I did everything I could to get the freshmen to the point where they will be a really strong team in a couple years,” Thompson said.

The women will play Case Western Reserve University on March 4 at 3:30 p.m. in Erie. The men will also open their spring competition on March 4, facing Case Western Reserve University at 9 a.m. followed by Earlham College at 12 p.m. in Mayfield Village, Ohio.