“Intensity.” A word said by head coach Steve Barsby countless times. A word he wishes to instill in the back of his players’ minds, whether they’re on or off the court.
The GC men’s tennis team is 9-4 with a 3-2 record in conference and five matches remaining. Their last four matches are all against ranked opponents.
“We need to do well these next few weeks,” Barsby said. “We have set ourselves up nice. If we can take care of some of these next matches, we will get in.”
The Bobcats must be among the Top 8 teams in their conference to secure a spot in the Peach Belt Conference, something Barsby said feels is highly attainable.
“The next few matches are going to be tough,” said sophomore Noah Wallace. “What’s always important is that you get off to a quick start because the guys we are playing will obviously be pretty good, so you can’t allow
yourself to fall back early.”
With the season coming to an end, the men are putting in extra time and sweat in hopes of advancing to postseason.
“Our coach always tells us to be intense, and that’s basically the key,” Wallace said. “We just need to go out there and be intense in the first moment and try to get off on the best possible start.”
Barsby, who has been coaching the team for 19 years, said he understands that players are put under a lot of stress as student athletes.
“They are college guys who have tests, assignments, group projects, so you’re stressed,” Barsby said. “Some days you don’t have anything to do, so you’re relaxed and you play unbelievably, and then some days you have four tests, and you play a little tight because you’re nervous.”
Barsby tries to alleviate that stress as much as possible by working with players on an individual basis.
Senior Rob Moller leads the team with a season record of 11-1 and is individually sixth in the nation. Set to graduate in the spring Rob has no plans to continue playing tennis in the future.
“With being a senior, I hope to enjoy the last two months as much as possible,” Moller said. “I mean, of course we want to win, but I think each relates to each other: whenever you have fun, you are better at playing and better at competing, and then the results come.”
Photos courtesy of GC Sports Information