Men’s Tennis has started this season out right with an undefeated winning streak of 5-0.
Considering the good start to the season, the team is already turning their eyes to the national championships. The key to this, and their success thus far, is teamwork.
Although tennis seems like a sport for the individual, senior player Shepherd Newcomb thinks exactly the opposite.
“We are all good friends outside of the tennis court,” Newcomb said. “There are only three new guys this year and they fit right in.”
Newcomb, who competes in both doubles and singles matches, explained why it’s essential to have a positive and uplifting attitude within the team.
“Whether or not you specifically lose on the day, it’s all about the team,” Newcomb said.
Due to the close-knit friendships of the members, the team has a rejuvenated outlook despite two major injuries that have taken place this season.
“The other guys have really stepped it up, and it’s really encouraging for the team,” Newcomb said.
Although the team is smaller than seasons prior, head coach Mark Bohren is positive about the future for the team this season. He, too, agrees that close team friendships are a main key to national championships.
“A lot of it comes down to everybody buying into the team idea, and that buys into their potential,” Bohren said.
According to Bohren, most of the success seen within the matches now is a product of the hard work that the team went through in the fall.
“Some of these matches we get a little lucky, sometimes we get a little unlucky,” Bohren said. “But there are just talented players, so that always helps. It’s their hard work paying off.”
Senior Christian Schmid stands thus far with 4-0 in singles, and 3-1 in doubles overall. According to Schmid, the spirit of the team this season really picked up after their 5-4 victory of Feb. 10 against UC San Diego.
“It’s a good starting point for the overall team,” Schmid said. “There were two guys playing that were not actually on the line up. The victory was a huge starting point for the overall team spirit, and for our future success.”
After the uplifting win, Schmid and the rest of the team are already looking forward to the matches ahead.
“The overall team goal for all of us is to make it to Nationals at the end of May,” Schmid said. “Last year, it was a huge bummer for all of us, and I think we are all working towards the goal that we don’t want to have that [their loss to UCSD in the NCAA West Regional last season] happen twice in a potential regionals match.”
Schmid went on to emphasize on the necessity for a close team bond.
“We had a cut in the beginning of the fall, and it was a good start to a focused team on and off the court,” Schmid said. “It was kind of necessary to get the team more focused and more sharpened.”
After these cuts in the fall, the Cougars have become slightly smaller than normal, with a total of ten main players this season, opposed to the twelve on the team from last year. Although this may seem like a potential setback, the players are now experiencing a close support system within the team.
The only other thing that many of the players would like would be more support from the APU community.
“It would be nice to have more people coming out to see the matches,” Newcomb said. “The atmosphere is much different. It [would be] crazy!”
The Cougars’ match against UC Riverside on Feb. 18 was cancelled due to heavy rain. The team’s next matchup will be at home against Western New Mexico University on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Munson and Bavougian Tennis Complex.