Men’s tennis team is working hard to improve this spring

Christin Kloewer Staff WriterThe men’s tennis team had five indoor matches in February, but with the weather warming up, the team looks forward to finishing their spring season outdoors.”Practice is going well,” Bob Nutgrass, head men’s tennis coach and Physical Education Department chair, said. “The guys are working very hard and trying to improve from day to day.” Nutgrass is emphasizing to his players the importance of improving each time out on the court, and he believes the guys are responding well to that challenge.”Meets have been very difficult,” Nutgrass said. “We have not won a match yet, but improvement is coming and the guys are playing really tough on every point, and that is very good for us.”The men’s tennis team was supposed to have their first outdoor meet on March 25 at Wartburg, but due to the weather they played inside. “We lost the Wartburg match by a 0-9 score,” Nutgrass said. “However, [Sophomore] David Albrecht played a strong second set and hit some very good shots. We had not played since February 23, so that showed a bit in the early going.”As far as the rest of the season, Nutgrass would like to attain a 50 percent win-loss record. He would also like to see the men’s team in the team tournament, which is a goal each year.”I look forward to every match and watching the players play as hard as they can,” Nutgrass said. “The competition in itself is what keeps me motivated to help each player play the best they can every time out.”Albrecht has been a part of the tennis team for two years and has been a strong asset to the team.”We have a lot of room to grow this year,” Albrecht said. “I am looking forward to the rest of the spring season as a chance to improve on our game.”Albrecht hopes the team gains a lot of new guys next fall so they can expand even more and help their overall chances when competing. “I would really like to build up our numbers for next season,” Albrecht said. “It will help build our depth chart so we can continue being competitive in our conference.”Senior Neil Bontrager is playing tennis for the first time, but is enjoying it and has seen much improvement since he started.”It is just a lot of fun going out and playing the game,” Bontrager said. “Being around the team has been a great experience thus far.”Bontrager commented that the team has quite a few inexperienced players, but he hopes the team can continue to improve throughout the rest of the season.”The expectations are basically that everyone puts in their best effort and tries to improve upon their weaknesses every day in practice and each tennis match,” Bontrager said. “It’s just nice to finally get outside and hit instead of being stuck indoors.”The next tennis match scheduled for the men’s team is April 12, and it will be played in Indianola against Loras College.