Men’s tennis serves up new season with young players

by Gabe Gilson/Staff Writer and Tyler Larson/Staff Writer

A short fall season for the Simpson men’s tennis team is now in action with a new coach as well as some fresh faces on the roster.

Daniel Finn is the head coach of the new regime after taking over for longtime coach Bob Nutgrass.

“Realistically, I want to finish third in the conference or higher,” Finn said. “The season is early, and I expect us to work hard.”

Finn knows that it can be a long process when it comes to getting ready for the season.

“I want the team to get better day by day,” Finn said. “We have to strive to get better, and that is only going to help us in the long run.”

For Finn, the fall season is a chance to help build for what is to come in the spring.

“It helps me to get to know the guys and the team,” Finn said. “I get to know the strengths and weaknesses and where everybody is at so I know what improvements need to be made.”

The Storm are hoping to improve off last year’s season in which they put up an 0-10 mark and went 0-7 in the Iowa Conference. Luther College was the winner of the conference last season after going 29-9 and 8-0 in conference. Coe College wasn’t far behind in second place, with Central College finishing third.

On Sept. 9, the Storm traveled to Pella and took on Central for the first match of the school year. Central took the match 8-1 against the Storm.

The Storm have seven players on the team this year. Being the oldest player on this young team, senior Russell Place will be looked to for leadership on the court.

“It makes me feel old,” Place said. “I feel like I have to work harder and give what I can to give the younger people something to look at.”

Place spoke very highly of what Finn has done up to this point.

“I like Coach Finn,” Place said. “He is very intense, very knowledgeable and he is going to push us to be the best we can be on the court.”

Sophomore Noah Saunders is also very excited about what Finn has already done to the program.

“He is out there trying to push us to get better every day,” Saunders said. “With the new conditioning we have done, it has really made us work hard and we have gotten better.”

The next match for Simpson will come Friday, Sept. 19, as William Jewell visits Simpson at 3:30 p.m.

The Storm will end the fall season in St. Peter, Minn. at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Regional Tournament Sept. 26 and 27.

Once the fall season is over, the Simpson men will have 21 different matches or tournaments in the spring, starting Feb. 9.

The conference team tournament will begin April 30 in Iowa City with Dubuque as the host. The individual/doubles tournament will follow shortly thereafter on May 1 and 2 in Cedar Rapids. Dubuque will also host the individual/doubles tournament.