The men’s tennis team began in full with what assistant coach Matt Levering dubbed its “building season” Feb. 24.
Friday’s match ended with an 8-1 loss for Linfield.
Despite the loss, the team is not disappointed.
This year, seven freshmen joined the squad. With half of the team being new players, Levering said this is a season of transition.
The coaches aren’t looking for wins, Levering said. “I measure success by the amount of effort I see out on the court,” he said.
The match was against the George Fox Bruins, who had a similar season last year.
With more returning players, Levering said he knew this match would be a tough one.
Freshman Lukas Klienman, who played No. 2 doubles, said there is a lot of room for improvement. Klienman acknowledged that the George Fox team would be tough because they have a lot of talented players.
“A lot of their players are 10 times better,” Klienman said. “They’re more experienced.”
Assistant coach Levering also said that experience was a major factor.
The Wildcats are in a period of rebuilding, but not all players are new this year. Senior Cody Levien, playing with junior Zach Lyons on No. 1 doubles and provided the Wildcats with their only point for the match, with a win of 8-4.
Levien wasn’t concerned about the loss.
“I had fun,” Levien said. “I see it as more of a game than just a sport.”
Levien’s statements seem to be the general consensus of the team. More than wins, improvement and fun are most important.
The weekend’s second game on Feb. 25 proved to be far more successful. The Wildcats beat the Lewis & Clark Pioneers 6-3, making their Northwest Conference record 1-1.
“What we want to see is improvement in every match,” Levering said, referring to the goals of the team.
With so many new faces on the team, and each player improving with each match, the future looks bright for the men’s tennis team.
This week, the team will have two away matches. The first is against Pacific Lutheran University on March 2. The second will be against Willamette on March 3.
“We have a lot of room for improvement, [but] I think it will be a good season.” Klienmen said.
Caleb Goad/Staff writer
Caleb Goad can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.