Following a scrimmage against the University of South Dakota, the women’s tennis team is one step closer to beginning its new season in 2013.
Last year was a roller-coaster season that ended in an 11-win, 11-loss record (5-2 in GPAC) and a conference tournament loss. This left them short of a national tournament berth.
“Last year, we finished third in the GPAC, which was the highest finish we had since bringing the program back five years ago,” said Head Coach Jeff Guthmiller. “We were really excited about that.”
This year’s team is full of returners from last year. The roster consists of juniors Terry Odera and Missy Yorchak, sophomores Frankie Eszes, Jami Koens and Hannah Stark and freshman Amanda Bueltel.
The team will also be joined for the first time by senior Mallory Cunard, who is currently finishing her season with the women’s basketball team.
“We’re still a young team,” Guthmiller said. “We’re still improving, we’re still growing, and I like where we are. If the girls can gain some confidence in where they are and keep working to improve their games I think we are going to have some success.”
Sophomore captain Frankie Eszes had an outstanding freshman season that helped carry the team. She was named GPAC Player of the Year and All-America Honorable Mention.
“I’d love to see Frankie repeat as GPAC Player of the Year,” Guthmiller said. “It will be a little harder because people will be gunning for her. She will have a target on her back that she didn’t have before.”
Eszes will rely on her teammates and their chemistry for help.
“I feel like we are really close,” Eszes said. “We are really comfortable with each other, and we can motivate each other.” Eszes said it is easier to develop more personal relationships with such a small group; they have to rely on each other to produce a championship effort and keep every player accountable.
“We have got to support each other, we have to believe in each other, and we have to lift each other up because we are all we have,”Guthmiller said. “It’s the hand we were dealt, we have each other and that’s it. We’ve got to go forward with that.”
Eszes sees encouragement as a key role in her captaincy.
“I try to motivate my team by playing my best and keeping a positive attitude,” Eszes said. “I’m just trying to get them to see that trying your best is more than just getting the win, it’s about playing your hardest.”
This team is full of anticipation leading into the new season and are working to continue to build and grow together in order to reach their potential.
The girls will officially begin their season at Grand View University today. First serve is at 2 p.m.