This past weekend, the men’s tennis team competed in a conference tournament that lasted Friday, Apr. 26, through Sunday, Apr. 28. On Friday, the Vikings played against both Lake Forest and Grinnell College. Their first game, played against Lake Forest, was a successful match as they won 6-2. Unfortunately, their later match against Grinnell College resulted in a 5-0 loss.
Juniors Andrea Arivella and Aiden Delgado has a successful doubles match against Lake Forest, having dominated the entire match and finishing with an 8-1 win. When asked about the key to their success against their biggest rival team, Arivella said, “I always play with Aidan and he sets me up really well at the net. We just played better than them and made it count when it had to count.” Head Coach Steve Francour added, “Lake Forest was a tough opponent. We played really well against them.”
Because of this big win over Lake Forest, the Vikings ended up facing off with Grinnell for the tournament championships. Even with a hard-fought battle, the Vikings ended up losing 5-0. “Grinnell has always been the best team in our conference and beating them is always a struggle,” commented Arivella. Grinnell College has always been a power house on the tennis side of conference. Regarding this, Coach Francour said, “Grinnell was clearly the best team in the conference. It was hard to overcome their talent and drive to win. It is amazing to think that they have won 16 title conference championships in a row. It will take a huge effort by someone to overcome them in the future.”
The conference tournament marks the end of the men’s tennis season. In reflection, Arivella said, “I was really proud of everyone, but especially of my doubles partner Aidan. We were good at keeping it together in our semi-final against St. Norbert’s and this resulted with a win to go to the final.” They were successful because they maintained their composure and they went out and seized that victory, one stroke at a time. Coach Francour said, “This year’s squad has done a great job fighting through some new positions on the team. Our No. 1 from last year graduated, so we had everyone move up a spot. That is tough to do. We have the talent and workload to do that, but it has been a challenge. They always have worked hard to get ready to play and take care of themselves. I don’t see any big weaknesses with this group. We need to keep getting better and with our level of success it is hard to make big improvements. Every little improvement will take a huge effort.”
Everyone has proved their value this season; the overall success of the team shows that. Coach Francour commented, “[Freshman] Cam Strawn has improved tremendously from when we started in the fall. He was new to the college game and he made great adjustments to his training. For him to finish runner-up at No. 6 singles is amazing. He was also rock-solid during the regular season. It was comforting as a coach to know that Cam would go out and put forth a great effort. He improved his ability to play the net and think strategically.” Each and every player on the team has helped get them to the second-place finish at conference. The team is proud of their performances this year and they can’t wait to continue improving next season. Coach Francour closed his statements by saying, “We try to impress upon our players that we want them to focus on their performance and the results will follow. When they make good swings, work hard and have fun, success will be there.” The season may be over, but there is so much potential left for this squad.