Men’s tennis transitions into form
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The men’s tennis team won its most recent match Saturday 8-1 against Lindenwood University. Before Saturday’s win, the team had lost three straight matches.
Head coach Chris Crawford said he doesn’t believe the team is bad despite these early season losses.
He said struggles are typical for young teams as some players are still trying to adjust to playing more often or to playing at the collegiate level.
“The team is in a transition because there are guys that have been there and done that, and guys that need to get their feet wet,” Crawford said.
He said one way the team will get better is by playing more matches. The team is scheduled to play more matches than any other Great Lakes Valley Conference team.
Crawford said he hopes the team will click at the right time and be ready by the end of March for the start of GLVC play. He said, like in all sports, if the team peaks too early, that can also lead to a disappointing season.
The team may be in a transition as they work to improve in time for conference play, but sophomore James Hardiman has already found his form.
Crawford said he is impressed by Hardiman’s play so far this season, and he isn’t alone; Hardiman also said he was satisfied with the way his season is going.
Hardiman is 5-0 in singles matches, including three wins against Division I opponents.
Even though he is playing well right now, Hardiman said one improvement he wants to make is being more aggressive and taking the match to his opponents instead of waiting for them to make mistakes.
Hardiman said he is looking forward to competing in conference matches this season because everything becomes more competitive during conference play.
As for the rest of the team, Hardiman said the team needs to continue working hard and take what they learn in practice into match play.
“Our overall goal is to challenge for a conference title, and maybe qualify for the nationals if it’s possible,” Hardiman said, “but right now we’re just focused on taking it a match at a time and try to get a little bit of a rhythm going.”
The team’s next match is on the road against Quincy University followed by another road match against Truman State University.
The men’s team is still seeking its first road win of the season, but with the next eight matches taking place on the road, it will have multiple opportunities.