As warmer weather approaches, so does the tennis season for the Stevenson Mustangs. The men’s team will be heading into the season with nine players, while the women’s team will be entering with seven. The goal is grow to a 12-person roster on each team, according to first-year coach Evan Clifton.
Both teams have been preparing with indoor practices and strength and conditioning training two days a week. As the season picks up, so will practices, with outdoor practices Monday-Friday beginning the first week in March.
Clifton and the team are keeping their expectations high as they prepare to play again in the Middle Atlantic Conference this season. Although the team recognizes that Arcadia University and Messiah College will be their biggest challenges, Clifton said that the team does not take anyone else for granted. “Everyone is in striking distance,” he said.
Every new season presents its challenges and a chance to grow. Clifton hopes to refocus on doubles as a team. Entering the season, Clifton said he is excited about the upperclassmen on each team. He said that seniors Peter Hoblitzell, Conrad Ellis and Ashlyn Hawbaker all represent the ideal qualities of great student athletes. He added that these seniors will help the team adapt, while the younger players can learn valuable lessons from these athletes.
Senior Conrad Ellis also likes to see team values represented on the court while having a chance to score a conference title. Ellis hopes to see consistency and team chemistry grow this season and he is confident that “it’ll happen.”
The team will kick off their season with their first home match on March 5 against York College. According to Clifton, the 2016 season for the Mustangs will be a learning curve for both teams but they are “excited to build something great and have a successful spring.”