Published on February 18th, 2013 | by Kristen Fazio0
There’s No Offseason in Tennis
Image courtesy of sxc.hu.
Kristen Fazio, Contributor
The men’s and women’s tennis teams are gearing up for what they hope is another strong season after a successful 2012 campaign.
Last season, the women’s team qualified for the national tournament and reached the Sweet 16, and the men’s team also qualified for the regional tournament. Hopefully, it is a sign of even greater things to come.
Led by sixth-year coach Brett Bridel, the women enter the season third in the region and 34th in the nation, while the men are ranked 33rd in the nation and fourth overall in the Midwest region.
“Our teams are moving in the right direction,” Bridel said. “We’re getting quality student athletes who are taking their academics seriously. We are in here for the right reasons.”
This season won’t be measured by wins and losses, but rather by the intangible qualities that make up the team. Bridel believes if the players become better people and better student athletes, the wins will come along with it.
“I like for it to be a byproduct of doing all the little things right,” Bridel said. “I want every day to be an opportunity for us to grow in our mental toughness, integrity, compassion for others, trustworthiness, hard work and be focused on strengthening our character. I want them to become better individuals because of college tennis.”
The team has spent the offseason working on improving their all-around game, and more specifically, their conditioning.
“There is really no offseason in tennis, but according to the NCAA rules, there is,” Bridel said. “Tennis is a year-round sport, especially if you want to be successful on the court. We work very hard on our conditioning and trying to become more fit.”
This season, the team has a few new faces. The women’s team, which won the GLVC title last year, added two freshmen recruits, Megan Nguyen and Jill Wetmore, and the men have added two transfer students, Florian Etienne and Philip Kuenzi, to the mix.
“They are going to be thrown right into the mix,” Bridel said. “We only have six players on both teams, they are going to have to hit the ground running, and so far they are adjusting well.”
Returning to the women’s team are juniors Kendra Mills, Zsofia Lanstiak, Zsofia Kranczicki and sophomore Brianna Markgraf. Senior Jesse Hardacre and sophomores Erik Aunapuu, Armand Levandi and John Richert return for the men.
The Flyers have two strong doubles teams, one on the women’s team and one on the men’s. Lanstiak and Kranczicki of Hungary are ranked fourth in the nation in doubles.
“The Zsofias have had a fantastic run the whole time they’ve been here,” Bridel said. Meanwhile, Aunapuu and Levandi of Estonia are ranked eighth in the nation.
“They have known each other a long time, and are very skilled players,” Bridel said.
The Flyers open their 2013 campaign Feb. 22 against Michigan Tech.