Men’s tennis set for a strong start


Monica Crawford

With a full team returning, including four All-Conference players, the App State men’s tennis team hopes to start the fall season off on a high note.

The Mountaineers will play in five big tournaments this fall, where each player will compete individually. The team uses the fall season to prepare for the spring, when the team results really matter.

“They’re playing tournaments as individuals even though we’re going as a team,” head coach Bob Lake said. “Their records speak for themselves as individuals, not team results. Once we hit the spring, that’s the real deal because the team is the only thing that matters in those.”

The team went 10-11 last spring and had multiple close losses. The Mountaineers made it to the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt tournament, where they were defeated by the South Alabama Jaguars.

Junior Jack Maddocks said that the team will use those close losses as motivation for the fall season.

“We lost a lot of close matches,” Maddocks said. “That kind of gives us motivation for this year to get through those close matches and just make a better result. If we had won all of those, it would have been a much better season.”

Sophomore Scott Webster said one of the team’s biggest challenges last year was keeping the entire team in shape all season long. The Mountaineers have already been working hard on their own this summer, as well as spending extra time in the gym and on the court in order to be ready for this season.

“We’ve been doing a lot on the court and hitting the gym really hard,” junior Trey Morris said. “I think that’s the most important part. It’s that, you know, we’ve been working out hard. Last semester we didn’t seem quite as focused in the gym as we are this semester. This semester we were able to hit it hard, and everyone seems really motivated and eager to get after it.”

In addition to working hard in the off season to prepare for the fall and build confidence, the Mountaineers plan to take advantage of the fact that they have four returning All-Conference players this year.

Maddocks, Morris, Webster and junior Oliver Casey were all-conference players last spring, and Webster was named Sun Belt Freshman of the Year.

“[Returning All-Conference players are] definitely going to help us a lot,” senior Zach Bost said. “We’ve got our freshman of the year, and he’s looking sharp. Then we’ve got our doubles team No. 2 and No. 3 that were really good last year.”

The Mountaineers are set to begin their fall season with the Davidson Invite on Sept. 25-26. The team will face off against Davidson College, University of South Carolina Upstate and Campbell University, all of whom App State will also play in the spring season.

They will play eight singles matches and four doubles matches against each team. This tournament will help the Mountaineers figure out where they stand as the season begins.

“Usually I don’t have everybody here for the fall because I bring people in in the spring,” Lake said. “This year I have the whole team here to play [at Davidson], so we’ll get a pretty good idea of what’s going on.”

Following the invite, on Oct. 2-3, the Mountaineers will host their Alumni Day Weekend, which is their only home series this fall.

“Alumni Weekend is huge,” Morris said. “We’ll be honoring coach Bob Light, who just recently passed away, and everything that he’s done for our program in the past. We’ll also have all our alumni up, and we’ll play a little tennis with them. It should be fun.”

The team will finish up the fall season on the road following Alumni Weekend, playing in invites at College of Charleston and Winthrop, as well as a regional tournament in Chapel Hill, before beginning the spring season in mid-January.

Story by: Monica Crawford, Intern Sports Reporter