Men’s tennis team begins spring season

Mens tennis team begins spring season

by Ashley Van Alstine

This year’s team is young, but the Simpson men’s tennis team is taking it one step at a time. The first step is Feb. 11 – a meet at Red Oak against Hastings.

“The strongest opponents for the spring will be Coe, expected to win conference, Graceland and Grinnell,” men’s tennis coach Bob Nutgrass said.

The tennis team has added four new members to the team with three returning.

“As far as the team is concerned, our one weak point would probably be that we are a young team,” sophomore co-captain Mitchell Peerbolte said. “However, on the positive side of a young team, it means that we should be very good in years to come.”

Because the team is starting out with so many new faces, the coach said they need to find a new match-up of players for doubles.

“The spots are really up for grabs right now,” Nutgrass said. “If you were to ask me today who was going to play with whom, I couldn’t give you an answer. Everyone on the team has to earn their spot in practice.”

Nutgrass said the three players who have state tournament experience have stepped up.

“With our team being so young, the sophomores are considered the upperclassmen,” sophomore co-captain Matt Johnson said. “What Mitch and I try to do with the freshman and the rest of the new guys is to let them know what their opponents are doing to improve. If we want to be at their level, we have to do the same and more. Mitch and I also help with their mental game too. If you don’t have your head on straight during a match, you can dig yourself a pretty deep hole.”

The team has very few practices before its first meet, but Nutgrass feels positive about the improvement he’s seen.

“The first day we were practicing indoors and the guys were frustrated,” Nutgrass said. “Then the next day we were outdoors and they did much better.

To keep up the school’s tradition of a winning record, Nutgrass said practices consist of three to five minutes of running and sprint work, and drills that work on forehand, backhand, volleying and serving.

To keep the team working on constant improvement. Nutgrass encourages friendly competition.

“He sometimes tells us the records of our opponents that have already played matches and how other teams are doing throughout the year,” Peerbolte said.

As this young team not only strives to grasp the technique of college athletics, the many new faces are starting to bond as teammates.

“We are such a young and inexperienced team that a lot of other schools are probably expecting us to come into matches and not put up much of a fight,” Johnson said. “What we want to do though is pull off a few upsets against the top few teams in the conference, let them know we’re still around and will be back towards the top within the next few years.”