With only one out of the nine players on the Men’s Tennis team being an upperclassman, this young roster proves that they still have the skills and capabilities to compete with teams that have more experience playing with one another. The Vikings (6-6) were able to pull out yet another victory against Marian University on March 30, where they slaughtered their opponents 9-0.
Until a few minutes before the game, none of the players knew the line up, so everyone had to go in ready to play anything, whether it be a singles game or doubles. This required the athletes to be flexible and well-rounded, which they proved to be from the result of the game. When sophomore Andrea Arivella was asked what he does to prepare himself mentally before games, he responded, “I like to be loose and free of stress, because it helps me think more sharply on the court.” One way in which he does this is by listening to music. Like most athletes, Andrea has a superstition. During a Tennis match he makes sure to never to step on the lines in between matches, as it brings bad luck.
The men’s tennis team strives to maintain a positive environment before and especially during games. If they were to lose their focus and start blaming themselves or their teammates for a loss, bad energy will start to accumulate and possibly cost them the game. During the Marian game, the players remained calm and beat their opponents by five points per match on average.
The Vikings stayed very composed throughout their matches. Sometimes when teams play opponents who are far from their skill level, they tend to play down to the opponent’s level, making it a close game when it should not be. The Vikings were dominant, inspiring no hope for victory in their opponents’ eyes. When Andrea was asked what he will be looking to improve on for the next game, he said, “In the next game, all I am looking forward to improve is my serve and my consistency on the backhand, which is also what I am focusing a lot on during practice.”
In an interview with Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach Steve Francour, I asked him how he thought the game went against Marian. He said that the game “went well” — not just because they won of course, but because everyone who played was successful, which shows that the Tennis team is strong throughout. “Our goal as a team is to be one of the top four teams in the Midwest Conference and get a chance to compete to be the team champion.” This is Francour’s 28th year of coaching tennis, and he has high expectations of his athletes for this season. He says, “This year’s team is deep and that is where our strength is.”
The tennis team will start their conference season next Sunday, April 8, where they play at home against Grinnell College at 10 a.m. and Cornell College at 2 p.m.