The men’s and women’s tennis teams began their seasons on Feb. 2, with a blowout to both NCAA Division II North Georgia College and State University for the men and University of West Georgia for the women. Though the team is young this year, the coach and players have high hopes for the future of the season.
The women’s team is ranked No. 15 in the NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top 25 Preseason Poll and the men lead in the ranking at No. 10. The women’s team is comprised of only two seniors while the men’s team contains no seniors. Coach Orville Adams still believes the team has great potential.
“Although the men’s and women’s teams are very young, I believe they have the knowledge, skills and ability level to do well,” said Adams. “They will have to provide absolute performance during practice sessions and competition on a daily basis rather than focusing on the relative rankings or ratings to be successful against our competitors.”
Since the team is so young, Adams says they have been focusing on implementing doubles and singles teams and line-up positions to get everyone accustomed to his or her particular role.
“The new players have to learn the doubles system and the functional jobs from the standpoint of the receiver and server,” Adams said. “Communication must be effective to be successful.”
Adams says the players have been working on mental discipline, character building and on-and-off court training activities.
Adams is looking forward to Candice Laurent, Iesha Holton and Aurielie Gaborit’s performances and leadership to keep the team members focused on the goals for the season.
“These three women will provide and promote significant leadership and inspire the other players on the team with the spark to propel and steer them throughout the spring season,” Adams said.
For the men’s side, Adams believes Guillaume Ledrap, Romain Lefevre and Romain Ferreira will help lead the team this season.
“I expect Ledrap, Lefevre and Ferreira to provide tremendous leadership and to show their focused effort to the rest of the team members in achieving the goals set by the team.”
Laurent, a sophomore business administration major, is No. 1 on the team for singles and doubles. Even though she is still young, she is one of the top leaders on the team and has high expectations for both herself and her team.
“My goals for the season as an individual player are, first of all, to try my best during each match and never give up because a match is never over until the last point is played,” said Laurent. “I also want to win as many single matches as possible so it can give points to my team as well.”
Laurent believes the team has improved and its focus now is getting to nationals.
“The team’s goals are to make it to nationals first, because we have gotten better and I know we can make it,” Laurent said. “We have to work hard for it.”
One of the newcomers, freshman sports management major, Arturo Lifshitz, has a positive attitude about the season and looks forward to helping make the team better.
“One of my personal goals is to try and win all of the single matches,” Lifshitz said. “This season, I want to help create a good environment and to have fun and enjoy the sport.”
Lifshitz said the team has been training hard and staying focused every day to get ready for the spring season.
“You have to have goals that will give you motivation in order to be successful.”
Adams believes the men’s and women’s tennis teams have the potential to go all the way to the national championships this year.
“Absolute performances are necessary during training sessions, along with players going out and practicing their skills on their own,” Adams said.
Adams believes if both teams can accomplish these tasks, their future may consist of a winning regular season, successful conference tournament and a berth to the national championships in Mobile, Ala.