Simpson College tennis team looks for younger members to step up


Photo by Madison DePover

by Chris Miller, Staff Reporter

Simpson men’s tennis head coach Matt Price envisions Simpson’s tennis team taking the next step forward this season. 

Last year Simpson College’s tennis team had their season cut short due to COVID-19. Instead of complaining about things being out of their control, Price looked at the positives. 

“That was hard when the season got canceled but I think the one thing is, we had three guys that were freshman playing varsity and a sophomore,” Price said. “Those guys got experience last year and took advantage of the season they had.”

Price is a firm believer in the offseason is one of the most important times to improve. With an extended offseason, he believes his team is better than they were a year ago. 

“I think the guys that are younger in the lineup take a step forward and improve, and our veterans that have been here 3-4 years will also get better,” Price said. “They have worked hard in the offseason. We also had one of our top players come back due to an NCAA eligibility grant, so really our lineup is basically consistent to what we had last year.”

The American Rivers Conference is filled with tough competition and each match will serve as a challenge, however, Price is up for the opportunity. 

“Our expectation is we want to compete in the top half of the conference and make the conference tournament,” Price said. “We want to beat teams that are basically at our level, a little bit above us and make sure we win the matches needed to do so.”

Every team has an identity they would like to represent, for Price’s tennis team, he had a couple of key goals he would like his team to live by. 

“We’re going to work hard. We’re going to keep each other accountable, play with integrity, honesty, determination and a desire. If we play with those things then it will help us come closer together as a team,” Price said. “I expect my guys to compete, 100% of the time and you know the wins will come. We’ll take our lumps but we’ll learn from those mistakes and get better.”

The fifth-year coach has also made it a team goal to stay healthy and to play all scheduled games. He wants to follow every protocol measure to ensure his team is not the reason for any cancelations or postponements. This will require the team to make smart decisions on the court as well as off the court. 

COVID-19 protocols and some of the fall sports seasons getting moved has made practice a little more challenging than previous years. The routine day-to-day schedule is more unpredictable. Practices at different locations, early hours or late nights have become common. 

“We’re trying to have this be a normal season, we’re doing the same things as what we did last year. “There’s nothing we can do about it, it’s just part of what’s going on in today’s society and we need to adjust to follow the protocols to 100% of our ability,” Price said.

Price wants to lean on his seniors to help guide the team in the right direction. 

“The two seniors are very key, they’re the captains of the team. My expectations for them is to be vocal leaders and lead with action,” Price said. “They keep guys motivated and make others want to have fun at practice.”

Senior Reade Reiter is looking forward to getting back on the court and improving from where they left off last season. 

“It was kind of weird not being in-season but this summer I feel that everyone was kind of itching to get back out there, I feel like we hit a lot more than what we normally would do,” Reider said.

Reiter pinpointed something about this team that sets them apart from others in the past. 

“My favorite part about this team is the camaraderie, I think being really close friends with one another is enjoyable and it has kept me around wanting to compete and wanting to get better,” Reider said. “It’s just fun to be around them and I feel like I have made lifelong friends.”

The Storm will open the season on the road against the University of Northwestern St. Paul in Minneapolis, Minn. on Feb. 20.