By Samantha Gillis
Staff reporter

The sound of zippers unfastening and the decadent combined smell of rubber, emerald green courts and determination greet the men and women tennis teams and their new head coach, Randy Smith. The men’s first match was Sept. 12, at 3:30 p.m. at Cowley County Community College. The women’s first match was a week later, on Sept. 17, at 3:30 p.m. also at Cowley County.

Randy Smith, head tennis coach, said the teams went into the matches to play like they practiced. “We didn’t go into the game to whomp them.” For Smith the question was how well could they play. “Could we win points, could we keep heads up and could we keep being good sportsmen?”

Lacey Hibbs, secondary education junior, knows they were all nervous to some extent. “It’s nerve racking going into something you aren’t sure of and have been preparing for during practice.” In years past the women’s have been beat 9-0, but this year they pulled through with a final score of 6-3 against CCC.

“It was really exciting seeing how the girls played out every point,” said Smith.

Hibbs thinks the team played good, and that they will be their strongest this year. “We need to practice more strategy in doubles, and as always continue with conditioning,” Hibbs said.  Smith has already planned to focus on technique, strategy and conditioning. Smith knows the team’s potential, but he also knows the team needs to work from the ground up. “If you start with something new like a new back swing, you will always get worse first because you need to practice it, but if we start with improving our basics we will go further.”

“We have to set our goals to be realistic,” said Smith. “I tell the kids there is a difference between getting beat and losing-when you get beat the other team is better than you are. When you lose, you lost.”

The men’s team went into their match thinking just that. Jacob Tafoya, computer information systems junior, admits the men’s team used to go into a lot of matches thinking they were going to lose. “I think the new coach has turned things around for us. It’s going to be more of a competitive season.”

“I feel proud of the team and I am looking forward to our match on Tuesday,” said Smith.

Both men’s and women’s team play today Sept. 22, against Newman College at home, starting at 3:30 p.m.

Samantha Gillis is a junior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at samantha.gillis@sckans.edu.

Box scores
Singles
Blackin def. Molly Kearns, 6-4, 6-0
Medina def. Morgan Hubele, 6-2, 6-3
Hibbs def. Finkle, 6-1, 6-3
Melissa Roetzer def. Laner, 6-2, 6-2
Franz def. Katie Mcnett, 6-7, 6-2, 11-9, (7-5)
Alesia Schneweis def. Brittany Berryman, 4-6, 6-2, (10-6)
Alyssa Peterson def. Kalena Pate, 6-2, 6-1
Doubles
Blackin and Medina def. Kearns and Hibbs, 8-3
Finkle and Laner def. Hubele and Roetzer, 9-7
Franz and Berryman def. Mcnett and Peterson, 8-2

Men’s scores against CCC were not available at press time.

Men and women’s scores against Newman were not available at press time.