|Redbird men’s tennis team takes huge strides over summer|
|Written by Michael Boyd, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Wednesday, 19 August 2009 21:35|
Hoping to improve upon a fourth place and 9-12 overall finish from last season, the Redbirds men’s tennis team has been taking no shortcuts this offseason.In fact, head coach Cris James thinks the team and many individuals have improved their game a lot over the summer.
"We haven’t started officially practicing yet but we had a couple guys on campus this summer for voluntary workouts and they both worked and made some progress," James said.
Sophomore Micah Lemoine was one of those players and although going 8-17 in singles play last year, he looks to rebound in his second year.
"I think Micah improved a lot this summer. He had a rough freshman year with some adjustments to college and to his game in the fall, and then a bout with mononucleosis throughout most of the spring," James said. "Micah is playing much better now and hopefully he can put everything together and contribute for us this year."\
Another athlete who made a lot of progress this offseason is junior Timon Reichelt. Reichelt is coming off of a 16-17 singles record last year and James is excited to see what this season has in store for Reichelt.
"Timon also had a good summer competing in some pro tournaments in Europe with some solid results," James said. "I haven’t seen him play since he got back, but I am hoping he made significant improvements."
When official practices do begin for the team, James plans on making fundamentals and physical preparation the main priority. The coach considers the fall season to be the developmental season before heading into the more competitive spring season.
James is also optimistic about the team’s conference and schedule.
"Overall, I love our schedule. We have a great mix of matches with some that we should win, a couple that will be tough to win and a lot that could go either way. I hope this will give us a chance to be nationally ranked and also prepare us well to go after a conference title," James said.
"I think the conference will be fairly strong this year and probably more balanced than last year. I think at least four of the six teams will be better than they were last year, including ourselves."
As far as captains go, James has not officially named anyone yet, but hopes that the true leaders on the team will emerge in the next few weeks.
The team only lost one senior in Daniel Tobar but has added two new faces in freshman Alexander Palaez and junior transfer Matej Zlatkovic.
"I expect both of them to do well for us," James said. "We have a good core group for sure."