Tennis searches for improvement before conference play
The men’s and women’s tennis teams are continuing their non-conference schedules with a mixture of wins and losses, but both squads are stressing consistency and improvement going forward.
The women’s tennis team had a slate of three games in as many days in early February. They defeated Chicago State 7-0, but then fell in consecutive days to Akron (6-1) and IPFW (7-0).
Meanwhile, the men’s tennis team faced stiff competition as they squared off against Louisville and Purdue, falling 7-0 in each match up.
Head coach Sean McCaffrey leads both teams and isn’t focusing on wins and losses just yet.
“We (men’s tennis) were supposed to lose those matches,” McCaffrey said of their recent losses. “It’s nearly impossible to get an upset at this level. You have to have four guys beat their starters, so it’s like getting four mini-upsets in one day.”
McCaffrey says both programs are focusing on improving as much as possible during the non-conference portion of their schedule to be well prepared for the upcoming Horizon League schedule.
“We have to be realistic,” McCaffrey said. “It’s not fun to lose, but the goal is to improve as much as possible from day to day.”
Despite the home defeats to Akron and IPFW, sophomore Megan McNamara sensed a lot of positive energy from her teammates.
“Our team had so much energy throughout the whole match,” McNamara said. “There was a lot more cheering amongst our team, so it definitely boosted the energy at the match. No one gave up. That is very crucial because during singles everyone is by themselves on the court. If the girl on the court next to you is giving up or has negative energy, than it affects everyone.”
McNamara also stressed the need for a higher fitness level from the women’s team, which played a factor in their most recent defeats.
“We had three matches in three days, so I think by the third match our team was not as fresh,” McNamara said. “If the matches were more spread out, then maybe we could have had different results.”
McCaffrey expressed fitness concerns for the men’s team as well.
“Against Purdue, guys were competitive in the first sets but we fell off during the later sets,” McCaffrey said. “It’s needing to get to that one ball or having that extra bit of speed we’re lacking right now.”
There’s still plenty of more time for improvement before conference play begins on March 23 when both squads play UIC. The men take on Northern Kentucky on Feb. 20 and then have a Sunday matchup against LSU in Columbus, OH. The women travel to the Carolinas to play UNC-Wilmington on Feb. 25 and Coastal Carolina the following day.