By ANDREW KADA
This past weekend, the UMW men’s tennis team hosted the annual Kickoff Classic at the Battleground courts with George Mason University, the University of Richmond, and Liberty University all in competition.
A few highlights from the tournament include the UMW men winning nine out of 10 matches against George Mason University and victories for the #3 and #4 doubles against Richmond as well the #4 doubles against Liberty.
“This weekend we played some tough competition, facing off against all Division I tennis programs,” said senior Evan Goff. “Overall we played pretty well, a couple matches here and there could’ve gone either way but we played some good teams. We’re going in the right directions and can improve on a couple things, but we like where were headed,” added teammate sophomore Andrew Frisk.
Although the spring season is the CAC championship season, the Eagle men have been working just as hard this fall in preparation for what’s ahead.
“We’ve been out there practicing six days a week, three hours a day working on our games. This year Coach Helbling has stepped up the conditioning and I think that’s something that’s going to help us down the road,” said Goff.
Frisk also recognizes that the early efforts that the coach and team are making will pay off in the long run.
“Coach is trying to whip us into better shape than last year…when playing tournaments we have lots of matches over the course of two days so gaining endurance has a crucial role for those competitions,” said Frisk.
In addition to new investments in training are the new members of the Eagle squad. Alongside the loss of last year’s graduates Randy Loden, Jason Dunn and John James come new freshmen additions, Sam Wichlin, Bryan Hope and Will Apperson, all eager to fill their shoes.
“The three freshmen are all three solid players that will impact the team immediately. They all bring different style games to the team…The freshmen have been working hard and I see lots of potential in them,” said Goff.
With fall season success and promising momentum, UMW men’s tennis is very optimistic.
“Everyone has been competing very well. Everyone including our coach is excited about where we can go this year with a new and young team. Every member of our team is very talented,” said Frisk.
Looking into the near future, the Eagles are getting ready for the ITA Regional tournament in two weeks on Oct. 3rd, hosted by UMW. This competition will mark the culmination of the fall tennis season.
“Many teams come from all over the south-east region to try and win the tournament. In past years we’ve had singles and doubles champions. Our goal is to get back to that history and have someone on the team win one,” said Goff.