Tennis teams spring into new season

There have been a lot of firsts for the men’s tennis team, as they had their greatest fall season in program history this past semester.  Both the men’s and women’s teams finished out the fall season strong and are looking forward to the spring season.

Senior Wornden Ly returns a serve for the Mustangs. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

At the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC)  tournament, the men played in the semifinals in seven out of the eleven singles spots, while in previous years, they haven’t made more than two. In addition, three out of the seven players made it into the finals.

The Mustangs also made finals in the regional tournament, ITA’s, with the doubles team of Ray McDermott and Wornden Ly, a first in  the history of the program.

On the women’s side, the team had four out of seven make the semifinals in singles. Two of the four doubles teams made the quarters, and the doubles team of Kelsi Mentzer and Jenna Skove made the finals.  Both teams fell to Wilkes University in the final.

Talent wise, the Mustangs have pushed to become one of the top teams in the MAC Commonwealth conference. The team has brought in new players this year on both sides. For the men, their lineup is stacked with talent and experience from Ritchie Abruscato, Ray McDermott and Andrew Ryan. The team has seen improvements from month to month, and head Coach Evan Clifton can’t wait to see what the team has in store in the spring.  Clifton is still deciding the order in which he wants to put these men in the lineup.

Stevenson freshman Taelor Brown hits a serve in a fall contest. (Photo by Sabina Moran)

The women’s team is very young with seven freshmen competing to be in the lineup. Two of the freshmen include Megan Waskiewicz and Taelor Brown. Waskiewicz is a competitor who has won a few matches and  Clifton plans to put her in the middle of the lineup for the spring season.

The preseason polls predicted that in the spring season, the men’s team is expected to finish second overall in the conference, and the women are expected to finish fifth. The team hopes this season they will become a top team in their conference.

As the season begins, the Mustangs start off with some tough matches against some good teams, including Salisbury University. The team has some tough out-of-conference matches coming up and, according to Clifton, the team is looking to compete.

This spring the team will focus on building upon their foundation, for they have proven themselves throughout the fall season. Clifton is focused on putting together strong lineups to increase the chances of success. The team has struggled in recent years towards the bottom of the lineup, making it important for both teams to have strong athletes throughout their lineup.

The women’s first match of the spring season is on March 3, at Salisbury University at noon.

The men’s team has already played two matches this spring, the first against Salisbury University on Feb. 17, and the second versus Juniata College on Feb. 18. The men return to action on Tuesday, March 13 when they travel to Hilton Head, South Carolina, to take on Illinois Wesleyan University in the first of three contests on the trip.

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