The MSUM women’s tennis team is off to a strong start in the young 2013 spring season. The team has already played conference matches and is looking to improve play throughout the rest of the season.
Overall the Dragons are 1-3 with a 1-2 record in conference play. The team lost to Upper Iowa 3-6, defeated Minnesota- Duluth 6-3 and fell to St. Cloud State 1-8.
“So far so good,” head coach Oliver Summers said. “We’ve improved a lot since the fall season.”
The team is very young with two new coaches which has required everyone to come together to give the best effort each time they step out on the court.
This year’s team is comprised of four freshmen, two sophomores and two juniors. The team has come together in both singles and doubles matches. With each match bringing a different element, the team is working hard to overcome any obstacles that may come up throughout the season.
“I’m excited that the team is a young team. With the amount of improvement I’ve seen already, I’m excited for the season,” Summers said.
One of two juniors, Kaitlin McNary, was recently named team captain.
“She’s a strong leader who has an eye for detail and great team spirit,” Summers said of McNary’s leadership for the team and her commitment to the program.
Summer said the team’s strength is in singles play but is coming together in doubles play.
“After a little experimentation with our doubles line up, we’ve now got four solid doubles teams who really gel together well,” Summers said.
With tough teams in the conference, Summers stressed it is important to give 100 percent in each match and for each player to play at her highest level during the matches.
Summers said the team is healthy and strong right now with no major injuries to any of the eight members.
“We have no major injuries worries, a few knocks here and there but that’s what you get for playing hard,” Summers said.
Junior Kaitlin McNary said, “We have all come together really well … I don’t think we could have a better group of girls … we all get along really well and we have a lot of fun together.”
“Win together, lose together, play together, stay together,” is what McNary said is the best way to describe this year’s team.
With a young team, one of the goals the team has set for themselves is a top six finish and playing in the conference tournament at the end of the season.
Summers said these goals are achievable for the team but to do that they will need to keep encouraging each other in all the matches and to stay positive even if the outcome isn’t the way they wanted to happen.
McNary credits Summers’ coaching and commitment to each player for helping the team achieve its goals by taking the time to work with each player to improve.
The teams next matches are against Northern State University, University of Mary and Bemidji State University. All the matches will take place in Bismarck, N.D., and the first home match for the Dragons is on March 23 against Southwest Minnesota State University.
BY BREANN LENZMEIER