Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 29 March 2011 16:17
The Tabor College men’s and women’s tennis teams aim to capitalize on their young talent to find success this season.
The Bluejays are a young team, losing two seniors last year and having no upperclassmen. They return a strong class of six sophomores.
“These guys need to be the ones to step up and set good examples for our younger players,” coach Michael Hagen said. “I think they are more than capable.”
He said sophomores David Simmet, Cory Simms and Mike Jaderston can fill this role.
“Our men are very deep with talent,” Hagen said. “Everyone will have to contribute for this team to be successful.“
He said Simmet, a sophomore from Germany, has shown signs of being a really strong player. He was an all-conference player last year as a freshman.
“So far the season has gone very well,” Hagen said. “We need to take advantage of the tough non-conference schedule we play in order to prepare us for the men’s KCAC schedule.
“I feel like a realistic goal for our team is to be in the top three of the KCAC.”
Hagen said the biggest challenge to reaching that goal will be finding an effective doubles lineup, especially for conference dual competition.
“The men have to learn to show up big in these matches and have the confidence that we can beat anyone,” Hagen said.
The Tabor women’s team has two seniors and returns six players, but will look especially to juniors Amanda Gayer and Amanda Faber for leadership as they pursue a top ranking in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Faber is a two-time returning all-conference performer.
“She’s an outstanding player,” Hagen said. “She and Amanda Gayer must play well at the top of our lineup for us to compete well with the good teams.”
Last year, the Bluejays tied for fourth in the conference, losing to Friends in the conference tournament.
“I think the women are excited for the conference season after missing out of the tournament last year,” Hagen said. “I think the upperclassmen are motivated enough to push the team to these goals this year. “
Adding fresh energy to the mix are newcomers Greta Wiebe, Meredith Voran and Katie Becker.
“They all are very tough competitors and will help us a lot this season,” Hagen said.
“If we continue to improve year to year, they are going to be awesome players for our women’s program in the years to come.”
Hagen said he loves the depth on his team and is confident it will work hard to improve and remain toward the top of the conference.
“We must come out with fire and really play hard in our toughest matches of the year, Hagen said. “The women’s side will be very competitive this year, so we must be ready to go play hard every time out there.”