With the 2017 season approaching, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams are beginning their training with hopes of winning the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC).
Coach Evan Clifton said, “Both teams have been preparing by utilizing a new strength and conditioning program, something that has been very effective.” The program consists of not only practices, but also includes diet plans and teams lifts in the stadium weight room.
Both senior Bryan Gieselman and sophomore Christina Endy agree that the strength and conditioning program has helped improve not only their individual strengths, but also the team’s assets. Endy claimed that the program has made noticeable changes to the team, especially on the court, describing players as “stronger and more explosive.” Gieselman said that the program has created unity within the team and also has improved their endurance.
Clifton and the team are keeping their goals and expectations set high this season. With the MAC championships in mind, their goal is to win the majority of their conference matches so that they qualify for the championships. Clifton also hopes to see the team make it to the NCAA tournament this year, something that neither team has accomplished yet.
The teams’ resources, facilities, and talent should indicate that an NCAA berth is possible, said Clifton, and he claims that “to have any goal less than that would be a waste of time.”
The new season has offered the team a chance to grow together. After losing their top six players from the previous season, Clifton knows the team is young with a total of only four seniors. However, this is something that the coach sees as positive. With closer age ranges on the team, players can grow together during the following seasons and will especially aid them in the current season.
With the women’s side already reaching the goal of a 12-person roster and the men’s side almost reaching that goal, the teams are able to stay focused on their personal and team strengths without any doubt in their minds about the upcoming season.
The team will kick off their season when the men’s team plays Juniata College on Feb. 18, and the women face Penn State Abington on March 10. For more information on the team and their upcoming season, visit gomustangsports.com.