Men’s tennis remains focused despite young roster

Mens tennis remains focused despite young roster

Jess Lyons

Oliver Casey and Jack Maddocks are two of the five freshmen on the Appalachian State men’s tennis team that will participate in the Southern Conference tournament Thursday in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Casey currently plays for the Mountaineers at singles No. 2 as well as for doubles at No. 2 with fellow freshman Daniel Hoang.

Maddocks frequently plays singles at No. 5 and frequently plays doubles at No. 3 with  junior Steve Lake.

“We’ll be losing our No. 1 next season to graduation, and there aren’t that many new recruits, so [Casey] is probably going to have to step up to No. 1 next season,” head coach Bob Lake said. “Jack is really talented too and will have to move up, as well. It’s always great to get this much talent in one year of recruiting.”

Both Casey and Maddocks boasted solid singles records for their first season. Casey finished the regular season with a singles record of 13-7 and a doubles record of 10-8. Maddocks finished his season with a singles record of 12-9 but finished doubles with a record of 6-7.

“Our goal is to just go out there and do what we can for the team,” Casey said. “We all worked really hard to be where we are, and we’ve got so much time left to keep getting better.”

The Mountaineers will only lose seniors Sebastien King and Matt Saltsgaver to graduation after this season, so the team will not look at adding a large number of recruits as Sun Belt Conference play begins next season.

“It’ll be harder,” Maddocks said. “There’s going to be more traveling to places we haven’t been and schools we’ve never even seen before. I don’t think low recruiting is going to be a problem for us. The guys we have can improve and adjust to the changes we’re going to make as a team.”

The Mountaineers will be joined in the Sun Belt by long-time rival Georgia Southern, but the other opponents will present new challenges.

“You just have to know the nature of the beast and how to handle it,” Lake said. “We have a good team with a group of guys who are ready to get better and put in the effort, and that alone is going to make us a contender moving up next season.”

The Mountaineers’ solid play this season earned them a first-round bye in the upcoming Southern Conference tournament.

App State will take on Samford in their first match of the tournament. The match is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Story: Jess Lyons, Sports Reporter