By Mateusz Gralinski
Even though the snow has just melted, the University of Northwestern – St. Paul men’s and women’s tennis teams have been hard at work for the past few weeks. The two teams started their 2015 season indoors at the beginning of February. Head coach Matt Swigart talked about this year’s expectations saying, “It is a long season and each day is a step in the journey. Steps are being taken, improvement is evident and we continue to be excited for what we can accomplish this season.”
The two teams fought hard in their first matches. The men took on Hamline University at Lifetime Fitness in White Bear Lake as the women battled St. Catherine University at Baseline Tennis Center in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, both teams ended up losing with close scores of 2-7 and 4-5.
The Eagles bounced back in their second match as the men defeated North Central University 6-3 and the women triumphed over the University of Minnesota – Duluth 8-1. Senior Megan Johnson said, “Our team had our best pre-conference season probably ever and the whole team gets along better than any other group I’ve ever been a part of,” regarding the first few matches of the season.
During spring break, the teams took a trip to Florida and played a few exhibition matches to prepare for conference play. The men only had one win but still walked away with some good experiences against very skilled teams. Meanwhile the women won two out of their five games, beating Seton Hill University from Greensborough, Pennsylvania and Daemen College from Amherst, New York. “We played really good competition and we matched up against them pretty well,” said Johnson looking back on the team’s trip.
Freshmen C.J. Lloyd also commented on the competition saying, “Although we lost most of our matches, it was good for us to play against teams of such a high caliber because it shows us what we have to do to reach that level of play.”
After coming back from their trip the UNW tennis teams are eager to get outside on the brand new courts and continue their play. “We have some really big matches coming up and they are really going to test us as a team, but I am excited to see how we handle these teams now that we have seen what it takes,” said Lloyd concerning the upcoming matches and the rest of the season.
Coach Swigert is also excited for what is to come saying, “I’m blessed to be able to coach such a great group of young men and women. This team truly loves one another, loves the game of tennis and working to improve.”