With preseason beginning, both GC’s men’s and women’s tennis teams are preparing to serve up a successful season.
“Every season is a little different,” said Coach Steve Barsby. “For the girls, I’m hoping we can push our rankings back up. With the guys, there are so many new faces, so I’m excited to see who we are as a team and what defines us. My goal for them all is to be good, nice people on campus and to do well in school.”
Both teams have been working diligently in the offseason and preseason to get ready for the year ahead.
The men’s team has focused on endurance training with the prospect of long tournaments ahead. Their goal for the season is to make it to nationals and move up in their national ranking, which was in the top 30 last year.
“The goal is to make it to the national tournament,” said senior Pedro Ecenarro. “We always make it to regional, but since it’s my last year, I really want to make it to Nationals. But we have to go step by step and work hard first.”
The women’s team, on the other hand, is focusing primarily on unity as a team and conditioning, but they also aspire to compete at nationals this season.
“We’re focusing on team goals,” said senior Jena Kelly. “This season is definitely more goal-oriented.”
“Team-wise, I’d say one of our first goals is to get to know each other’s games on the court and hopefully win the Conference Tournament and go to nationals,” said senior Emma Niemi.
Both teams have welcomed new, younger students to the team this year.
“For the past two years, no one graduated or transferred, so the team was always the same,” said Ecenarro. “But since we have five or six new players this year, it’s just a different environment on court.”
“The women’s team got three new players,” Niemi said. “Two are from Spain, and one is from Germany. I’d say they’re all key new players because they all came in strong. I think they’re going to be great additions to our team.”
According to Niemi, the returners are also a force to be reckoned with.
“Jena Kelly, Kristen Jones, and myself, we are the returners,” Niemi said. “We’ve played strong together for the past three seasons, so they’ll be important in the team continuing to do well.”
“The returners set the culture for the game,” Coach Steve Barsby said. “They set the tone in practice and weights. They know what to expect. But the new players also bring new energy and new life to the team.”
Tennis season begins in the spring, and the teams will continue to prepare and work hard throughout preseason.