Tennis starts up spring meets

Tennis starts up spring meets

by Kristin SimpsonStaff Writer

The men and women of Simpson Tennis are in the process of starting up the spring season.

The men’s tennis team kicked off the spring on Feb. 2 in Decorah. The Storm lost to both opponents, 7-2 against St. Ambrose and 9-0 against Luther.

The winning matches of the day for Simpson were in the doubles competition. Junior Matt Johnson and freshman Tim Claussen defeated St. Ambrose, 8-6. Junior Mitch Peerbolte and sophomore Russell Place won 8-5, also against St. Ambrose.

Although the Storm only won matches in the doubles competition, that is the very place Bob Nutgrass, head men’s coach and director of tennis operations, thinks the team needs to work on the most.

“I think we need to improve on doubles,” Nutgrass said. “The challenge at the beginning of the season was to find doubles partners. Our strength is going to be singles play.”

The storm continued play this past weekend, losing in a score of Simpson 2, Hastings 7. Simpson won one each in both the singles and doubles competition.

In the fall, the Storm’s singles play dominated over doubles play. The men won a total of six singles matches and four doubles matches in regular season play.

Simpson lost all nine matches against their first opponent of the fall, Graceland, on Sep. 13.

At Central on Sep.14, the Storm lost 8-1, with the only winning match being in the doubles competition. Simpson fell to Wartburg, 7-2, on Sept. 19 after winning one match each in the singles and doubles competition. Storm prevailed in five singles matches and two doubles the following day.

Simpson claimed its first victory, 7-2, when it hosted Iowa State Club on Sep. 20, a dramatic improvement since Graceland.

“In the fall we had a couple of injuries and didn’t have the full team out there,” Nutgrass said. “We weren’t at full strength, but we got better each time.”

Increasing support within the team is next on Nutgrass’s to-do list. He believes that building team camaraderie will aid the team in its success.

Helping him in this project are co-captains Matt Johnson, a junior from Shenandoah, and sophomore Russell Place of Norwalk.

“The co-captains are doing a very good job,” Nutgrass said. “I’ve been happy with their leadership in the offseason.”

With most of the emphasis placed on the spring season, the men hope to pick up where they left off in the fall.

“The fall season helps everyone get to know what to do for spring,” Peerbolte said. “I think it has the potential to be a really good year.”

On the women’s side, however, the fall season grabs more attention.

“We don’t have definite goals for the spring like we do in the fall,” Women’s Head Coach Pat Heller said. “We just need to get a little bit more competitive and just keep working at it.”

In the fall during regular play, the women’s team defeated a total of six teams and lost to five. Overall, the women were the victors in 46 matches but fell to opponents in 53.

The Storm went on to finish sixth out of nine teams at the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Singles/Doubles Tournament.

“We ended up where we thought we would in the conference,” Heller said. “The kids played hard and worked hard, and that was always good.”

The women’s team took on Hastings this past weekend in their first match of the spring falling in a score of 5 to 4. The storm won 2 each in the singles and doubles competition.