Friday, March 28, 2014

Tennis ready, but weather thinks otherwise

6:03 PM

Trever Ford
Sports Editor

As the seasons begin to shift from winter to spring, so do the sports that are currently competing.
One sport in particular that begins in the spring is men’s and women’s tennis.
The tennis teams do compete a little in the fall, but it is only for one or two tournaments total. The fall competitions are solely to get the players out of the “summer mode” mind frame and ready for the upcoming year.
The spring season,  however, is tennis’ main season to compete and play for conference titles and national tournament appearances.
Starting off the 2014 season, the women’s team finds themselves once again ranked nationally, coming in as number 25 in the coaches’ pre-season poll.
With five returning starters from last year’s national tournament appearing team, the Threshers will look to continue their dominance and return to the tournament this year.
In doing so, the Threshers will also be looking to win their fifth consecutive regular season championship.
The women’s team has also had three of their current players fall into the top 20 ITA Central Regional rankings for singles, and one doubles team received a ranking as well.
Breanna Honer, sophomore from Newton, finds herself ranked as the fifth best singles player; Allie Hipp, junior from Claflin, is ranked eleventh in singles; Stephanie Shogren, senior form Hesston, is ranked fourteenth in singles; and the doubles team consisting of Honer and Shogren is ranked fourteenth.
 The men’s team on the other hand is entering the season as underdogs like many times before. McPherson College and Bethany College have finished in the top two positions for the last couple of years.
Regardless of the obstacles, the team is ready to prove everybody wrong.
With weather conditions not on the side of the tennis teams, many practices so far have been held inside or canceled altogether. With limited practices, the Threshers headed into their first match far from ready.
“Obviously it is hard to not to be worried for a match when you have little practice,” said Chris Soosalu, sophomore from Ottawa, CAN. “But you just have to think that you can win and get through it with just wanting it more. I think everyone on the team pulled through with the belief in themselves that they would be able to find a way to win.”
So far the lack of practices and poor weather conditions have not slowed the teams down, as both are off to good starts.
The men’s team is holding a 2-0 record having beat Baker University 8-1 on March 8 and then beating Southwestern Christian University 9-0 on March 25.
The women’s team has played one less match but is holding onto a 1-0 record defeating Baker University March 8, 7-2.
With there already being four matches postponed and one canceled this season, the tennis teams are hopeful for better weather as conference play creeps up.

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