Trinity men’s, women’s tennis teams begin their seasons with a  winning streak

Both the Trinity University women’s and men’s tennis teams have kicked off their spring seasons with a series of competitive matches against nationally ranked teams.

Last weekend, the men’s team traveled to Pepper Pike, Ohio to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III National Men’s Team Indoor Championship. Seeded fifth heading into the tournament, the Tigers defeated top-ranked Washington University 7-2 on Saturday in the consolation round.

In the afternoon, the Tigers were also  victorious over the No. 2 ranked Pomona-Pitzer Colleges from California, winning the match 6-3. The Tigers finished in fifth place overall for the weekend tournament following key victories by senior Paxton Deuel in the No.1 singles match and junior Chas Mayer in the No. 5 singles contest.

“This past weekend we had good competition that hit the ball well, and I think moving forward we have to continue to realize that we just have to play our game and not go out there and try to do anything special,” Mayer said.

On the doubles side, the No. 3 pair of senior Eliot Guin and first year Wilson Lambeth notched the Tigers’ sole doubles victory against Pomona-Pitzer. The No. 1 doubles pair, senior Adam Krull and sophomore Matt Tyer, in addition to the No. 2 team of Deuel and junior Clayton Niess were narrowly edged by the Pomona Pitzer Sagehens, 9-7 and 8-6.

Guin reported his confidence as the team returns from the indoor nationals and looks ahead to the next weekend of competitive tennis.  

“Although we suffered a close loss to UChicago, we still took out the (top two) seeds of the tournament, Wash U [ranked 3rd nationally] and Pomona [ranked 4th nationally],” Guin said.

Lambeth continues to contribute to the team’s early success, especially on the doubles side.

“The [first years] have all stepped up, and I think that we have a very deep team this year that can compete with just about anyone,” Mayer said.

Mayer and Guin both noted that their personal goals for the spring season tie directly into the team’s goal of competing for the top honor – a national championship. Guin cited the team’s vibrant dynamic as a key ingredient to maintain their success.

“We are a very close-knit group of guys on and off the court … Those relationships translate to a feeling of brotherhood,” Guin said.

Still early in the season, the men’s team currently sits at an eighth place national ranking with an overall record of 5-4 against all competition. The Tigers will return  home to face Division II opponent St. Mary’s University (TX) at 10 a.m., and Laredo Community College (TX), of the National Junior College Athletic Association, at 4 p.m.

Similarly, the Trinity women’s tennis team jumped straight into competitive play over the past two weeks. First, the Tigers  travelled to Walla Walla, Washington to battle four teams from the West Coast on Feb. 13 and 14. Coming away from the weekend 2-2, the Tigers handled No. 22 Whitman and No. 35 Linfield College (OR) but fell short to Redlands and Lewis and Clark College (OR).

“I’m really confident in what our team can accomplish this spring. I think we are as good as we have been in a few years and we proved that by beating Whitman and having some other really close matches,” said junior Liza Southwick.

The Tigers returned home to host Tyler Junior College and Texas Lutheran University last Saturday.

The Tigers defeated Tyler JC with decisive wins in the No. 2 doubles match where the pair of sophomore Marie Lutz and first year Caroline Kutach won 8-4. Additionally, the No. 3 doubles team of sophomore Blaire Porter and Cheyenne Duncan narrowly lost a close fought match, coming short of Tyler Junior College with a final score of 9-7.

Tyler Junior College also secured the top three spots on the singles side of competition with  Kutach playing the No. 1 singles match, senior Gabrielle Roe in the No. 2 lineup and first year Andrea De Leon battling in the No. 3 matchup. These narrow defeats allowed Tyler JC to walk away with a 6-1 overall victory on Saturday morning.   

However, in the afternoon, the Tigers rebounded to defeat SCAC conference opponent, TLU, in a resounding 8-1 victory.

Roe attributed this afternoon surge against TLU to the team’s collective positive mindset.

“As a senior, it has been so interesting to see the dynamic change from my first year to my last year playing college tennis, but one thing is for sure… Every player always brings their heart and sense of sisterhood out on the court with them,” Roe said.

Roe, the SCAC Player of the Week, highlighted the importance of new athletes on the team.

“The freshmen are contributing a great deal… And the greatest thing they bring to the table is their love for the game and their positivity day in and day out,” Roe said.

Southwick echoed Roe’s testament of the  positive team culture and role of the first year players De Leon, Hannah Cook, Caroline Kutach, Liz Sanchez and Erin Tsai this spring.

“The freshmen are awesome. They bring so much talent, laughter, and an amazing work ethic to the team that inspires and drives each one of us,” Roe said.

Southwick went on to describe how the team’s energy is focused on a collective goal of advancing far into the NCAA’s this spring.

“I want us to each contribute however we can to make us the most successful we can be. Whatever is most important for the team is most important for me and I am trying to live that out day to day,” Southwick said.

The Tigers were led by three back to back wins in the doubles matches. Kutach and Lutz clinched the No. 1 match, Roe and Southwick secured the No. 2 doubles and Duncan and Porter rounded out another victory at the No. 3 spot. The Tigers went on to win every singles and doubles match except for the No. 1 singles contest between Lutz and TLU’s 11th nationally ranked powerhouse, junior Sofia Vega.

Kutach, Roe, De Leon, Erin Tsai and Duncan all won their individual remaining singles matches.

The women’s team will remain at home this coming weekend as they take on St. Edward’s University out of at 2 p.m.

In preparation for the weekend, Roe added that she plans to focus her attention on being more aggressive at the net.

“St. Eds is definitely a formidable opponent; it will be a tough and fun match.”