Matt Rogel, a senior tennis player from Sautron, France, has been recognized as a Preseason All-Peach Belt Conference (PBC) player. A well-deserved honor as Rogel demonstrates skilled athleticism and a humble commitment to the game.
“I was really happy to find out I got named,” Rogel said. “I was honestly surprised. I wasn’t expecting it. Yeah, it’s just a good feeling overall.”
Steve Barsby, GC’s tennis coach, is extremely proud of his No. 2 player based on last season’s performance, potentially soon to be No. 1. Based on Rogel’s disciplined work ethic, Barsby knows Rogel would be up for consideration for the title.
“He came in and was like, ‘Hey, this is who I am. I’m gonna work hard. I’m loyal to the team. I’m a good guy to my teammates.’ And so everyone accepted him pretty much right off the bat,” Barsby said.
Last year Rogel went 12-7 in singles and 16-3 in doubles which earned him status as a 2019 ITA (International Tennis Association) All-American. Rogel is also an ITA Academic Scholar-Athlete and was recognized for the PBC Presidential Honor Roll Silver Scholar award. Additionally, Rogel is part of GC’s cross-country team and attributes his athleticism to staying in shape and being mentally prepared by running.
Rogel has both team and individual goals for this season. With the addition of three new players and the loss of spots one, three, four and five in the lineup, he says the team is basically brand new.
“Team goals would be to make it to regionals this year,” Rogel said. “I’m excited to see how our first match goes this Saturday.
Everyone’s worked really hard this semester, so I’m excited to see how that pays off. Hopefully, we can keep up the good work.”
Barsby is confident in Rogel but wants him to instill confidence within himself. Although hard-working and humble, Barsby wants Rogel to project a fearless attitude on the court.
“This first sort of outer conference schedule against Valdosta and a couple of other teams will be sort of like a test for him to say, ‘Hey, yeah, I can play with these guys,’ because he can now,” Barsby said. “Hopefully, he believes he can.”
Hailing from France, Georgia is quite different from Rogel’s original surroundings.
He spent his first two years playing tennis at ABAC (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College) in Tifton. Although he enjoyed his time there, his eligibility only lasted two years. That’s when he made the decision to come to GC.
Rogel loves GC’s campus as well as his teammates. Milledgeville’s small-town feeling makes him feel comfortable and right at home. Once graduated, Rogel plans to stay and obtain his master’s in accounting and serve as veteran assistant coach to the team.
According to Barsby, Rogel’s greatest strengths include his temperament and attitude. Rogel is always in a good mood and fit in right away with the rest of the team.
“With tennis, the only thing I can control is how much effort or work I put in,” said Rogel. “Then you just see what happens. I try my best, but it’s not about the awards for me. If I still have a wonderful season and did my best, I’ll be happy with that.”
Although the team is young in regards to experience, Barsby hopes Rogel will work on being a vocal leader. Rogel’s personality is calm, cool and collected, but Barsby wants to instill a little fire in him.
The 2020 season begins Feb. 1 with GC hosting Morehouse College at the Centennial Center Tennis Facility. The PBC Tournament will be played April 24-26 at the Dr. Eddie Florence Tennis Center in Florence, South Carolina.