The APU men look to add to their 15-game win streak while the women plan to recover after a three-game skid
Both of the Azusa Pacific men’s and women’s tennis team’s have been dominant this season, as both team have broken previous school records and are both nationally ranked. The men currently stand undefeated with a 15-0 record, while the women look to recover from three straight losses, now standing at 10-5.
The No. 6 ranked-men’s team defeated Lehigh, Colorado Mesa, Emory and Midwestern State this past week, with the majority of matches being blowouts. The closest games that APU has had this year were between Redlands and Emory, where the Cougars won 6-3.
Graduate student and tennis player Christian Schmid acknowledged that the team’s strong starts in matches through doubles competition has been a form of momentum for the team.
“What was most important for us is that we’ve had really good starts. We have never been down in doubles this season, and when you have that lead in doubles, you take that with you into singles. That in turn has helped us get those easy wins. It’s that confidence that we take with us after doubles,” Schmid said.
Perhaps one of the team biggest wins of the season came on March 9 against school rival Hawaii Pacific, where the Cougars snapped an eight-match losing skid losing against HPU, defeating the Sharks, 8-1.
“That was an enjoyable day and an amazing win. It was fun to finally beat HPU, especially for me, I remember my freshman year where HPU was out of reach because they had such a great team, then in my sophomore year we had such a close battle at home but lost in the PacWest finals. It was just a great feeling, more so for us seniors to had experienced those tough matches in the past against HPU,” Schmid said.
With a solid mix of youth and experience, the team looks forward to a week-long break, before continuing the second half of the season next week, beginning with their home match against Biola on Friday, March 23.
“We have so much great potential in our team with the experienced seniors and also the freshman, the new guys that we got in this season,” Schmid said. “This week off gives us some time to work on individual stuff and work on some fine tuning.”
The women’s tennis team had the best start in program history, beginning the season 10-2. Since then, however, the Cougars have dropped their last three matches, with their most recent loss coming to Williams on Monday.
For the majority of the season, the women have dominated their opponents, but their most recent losses have been very tight games and against strong opponents such as the No. 6-ranked Academy of Art. Three of the five losses from the team have ended in a 4-5 score.
“The fact that we are right there with them is a testament to how good our team is. It’s definitely hard to be on the losing end, but we are right there and I know that we can turn it around in our favor,” junior Kara Hinton said. “I believe in the team that we have because we’re so capable and have already been off to such a strong start, I think this is just that little dip. After today, we’re going to hit the reset button and then just go from there.”
After a tough week, the Cougars have this week off before going back to the grind next week. Hinton expressed that this week of rest is much needed for the team and that they are looking forward to bouncing back.
“For us to bounce back, the key is going to be the practice that we get this week because we got four games in a row next week and then we’re off to Florida,” Hinton said. “This week of practice is definitely going to be key and I think that’s where we’re going to bounce back and find our rhythm again.”
The Cougars will be at home all of next week, with their next match being against Middlebury on Monday, March 26 and conclude with an important match against Hawaii Pacific, before the team eventually makes their way down to Florida the following week.
“I think what really gives us the advantage over a lot of teams is that we’re so deep,” Hinton said. “Coach can put in anyone in any spot in the lineup and feel confident that we’re going to win those matches there. It’s been great to have the girls be so good and we’re just super excited for the rest of the season. The later half is going to be tough. It will come down to UC San Diego and Point Loma at the end… but I think we’re just a little bit better that other teams and that’s what going to pull us through.”