Senior inspires young tennis team to improve during season

With one more match to go, the Linfield men’s tennis team has struggled through the season, posting a 0-12 record. This record can be attributed to a young team, with only two seniors, including Zach Lyons.

Lyons has played for four years at Linfield College and has been with the team through thick and thin. His freshman year, the team placed second in conference with an overall record of 13-7.

“I had always played a little tennis off and on when I was a kid, but I got serious about it when I started high school,” Lyons said. “It was a good choice for me because I was too small to play football, and I was tired of all the running in soccer. So, I figured hitting the crap out of some tennis balls would be fun.”

Each successive year the team has performed worse, dropping to a 6-8 record in 2011, 2-17 record in 2012 and now posting a 0-12 record.

Despite the losing trend, Lyons has done well, earning all league honorable mentions as a junior.

“My favorite memory was probably last year during our fall tournament where my doubles partner and I were playing a tough team, tensions were pretty high, but we were able to beat them,” Lyons said. “For the very last point, I hit one of our opponents in the face to end the match. It was purely accidental, but it was an epic way to end the match.”

Now as a senior, Lyons has a different role. As the team’s number one singles player for the majority of the matches and a member of the number one doubles duo, Lyons is forced to play the top competition in the conference, while leading by example for the young team. Senior Kadin Hashimoto also stands as a role model for the young team, but only has one year of experience.

“It’s different, though, that it’s just Kadin and I because I was on the team when there were five seniors who all started at the same time and graduated together,” Lyons said. “Since I’m the only one who has been on the team for all four years, I don’t get to experience that.”

Lyons currently posts a 1-10 singles record and a 5-7 doubles record.

Lyons looks to improve on his season marks April 28, while the team looks for its first win of the season in Pasadena, Calf., against Cal Tech.

This will be the last match for the senior and the last match of the year for the Wildcats’ tennis team. The competition starts at 1 p.m.

“Some of my best friends have come from this team,” Lyons said. “You learn a lot of things in team sports, and I think I learned many lessons that can be applied on and off the court.”

 

Chris Haddeland/Senior reporter

Chris Haddeland can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.