Focusing on fundamentals, team spirit and plain old hard work, the Linfield men’s tennis team hits the court this spring with renewed optimism for a successful season.
For a program that has endured back-to-back winless seasons, all signs of growth and improvement, however small, are deemed significant.
With improved depth, Wildcats coach Carl Swanson not only has more talent to work with, but greater flexibility to adjust his lineup to suit the opponent.
“We have a nice core of players from last year,” said Swanson. “We’ve complemented the core with the addition of new players and the return of experienced players who were abroad or injured last season. Our journey right now is to rise up in the standings and the ultimate goal is position ourselves as a championship contender.”
Four seniors – Ben Brewer, Joel Trousdale, Micah Roos and Lukas Kleinman – have experienced the full spectrum of victory and defeat and together are determined to conclude their careers on the upswing.
“Our seniors are doing a great job working hard in practice and competing well in matches and that sets a good tone for the rest of the team,” said Swanson.
Getting crisp performances in doubles is paramount to the Wildcats securing dual-meet team victories, Swanson emphasized.
“Our foundation is our preparation and execution in doubles. We must excel in doubles to provide the opportunity to close out matches in singles. Our players are positioned better now in singles because we have more depth and competition for spots in the starting lineup.”
Experinced returners Tim Hawkins, Kelsey Rosborough and Alec Wisthoff stand ready to contribute. First-year players Ben McNair, Liam Spearnak, Grant Barrow and Ehren Cahill are finding ways to support the team immediately. The energy and competitive spirit they bring is giving the entire team a boost, noted Swanson.
Stability in the coaching staff, notably the retention of assistant coach Brent Kingzett, is another key to continued development of the younger players. Kingzett won 25 singles matches and 51 doubles matches during a career that spanned from 2008 to 2011.
“As a successful player in this program and our conference, Brent is able to provide valuable guidance and feedback to our players and he is an invaluable resource to our program,” said Swanson.