Written by: Julia Armistead
With the season opener just days away, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams at VSU are prepared to serve up their best work for a successful season.
Both squads open their seasons at home. The men’s team faces USC Aiken Saturday in a rematch to last season’s finale, and the women’s team takes on Georgia State College.
With scheduled matches against some of the top tennis teams in the country, including Barry and Rollins next weekend, both teams have been working hard, looking to redeem themselves from their losses last season.
The men’s team heads into the 2014 season with nine total players, six of them returning to the group from last season, one of whom is lone senior Mario Navarro Bayo.
Mario and company are attempting to improve on last season’s unsatisfying 10-12 record. Despite playing well in conference (6-1), the Blazers couldn’t earn one victory against nationally-ranked opponents (0-8).
The women’s team brings back five returning players, and the team will lean on their three seniors: Jessica Tuggle, Juliana Boehm, and Michelle Fisher.
The ladies ended their season last year by being ousted by three-time Gulf South Conference champs West Florida in the GSC tournament. Like the men, the women competed well in conference (7-1), yet struggled with national contenders.
While four new freshmen join the ladies, three new freshmen join the men’s team.
2013 ITA All-American Konstantin Kutschenko and Brian Rasmussen are graduate assistant coaches this season.
In his 40th season coaching at VSU, Head Coach John Hansen hopes to bring his teams back to the national spotlight, where they’ve been absent the last few seasons.
This article was written by Lia Armistead.