MVNU’s newest team wrapped up its first season this spring.
Members of the reinstated tennis program said they had a positive experience and are looking forward to taking the program to a new level next year.
Operating as a club sport in 2016-17, the women had three scrimmages and the men’s team had one.
Though the teams lost each match, coach Daniel Doan is optimistic about the future of the program and foundation this team has laid.
“Our first year went well as we grew closer as a team and gained some valuable experience when it comes to match play,” Doan said.
Doan recognizes that the newest Cougar team is in a tough conference playing against teams with more experience on their rosters. However, they are not shying away from the competition.
He believes the strength and foundation of the program is in the players themselves.
“Our players are coachable and have an open mindset, wanting to get better,” said Doan.
The players look back on their first season with excitement and hope for the future.
Lone senior Christopher Ketchel is thankful for the time he spent on the team. He joined the team as a way to have fun and get some exercise while relieving the stress of his senior year as a graphic design major.
Ketchel is proud of the season and believes it “acted as a solid stepping stone to becoming a varsity sport.”
He said he is excited to see what the sport will become in the coming years.
“I definitely hope to see the program expand, grow and gain popularity,” Ketchel said. “I would love to see the team start into the varsity arena with a strong game and eventually make their way up the totem pole.”
The rest of the team agrees and will use this season as a foundation to build upon.
“I personally think this season was great,” said freshman Tiffany Lawrence. “I think the reason it went so well is because it brought us all so much closer together as a team, and like Coach always says, that’s truly what it’s all about.”
Freshman Aaron Hoff is thankful for the time, energy and financial investment of the University.
“I’m really glad that so many people want to see tennis start back up on campus,” said Hoff. “I’m excited to see the friendships, camaraderie and dedication that this team will bring to campus.”
Hoff said it’s especially meaningful to be part of a new program on campus.
“It was a really great experience overall to be able to get back out on the courts, play against other good players and be a part of something bigger,” he said.
Doan hopes to continue to facilitate an environment that provides growth for the individual athlete and the team as a whole.
Looking ahead Doan will focus on strengthening the team and being “united with the same goal in mind, to excel in the program and work hard.”
Doan is excited about next year as some athletes have already committed to the program and many others have expressed interest. Currently, the teams expect to add three or four men and six or seven women for the 2017-18 school year.
“I am ready to get the program up and running as there has been a lot of buildup for what we want to do but I know it will take patience and hard work to get to the place we hope to be,” Doan said.
The tennis program returned last fall after a 24-year absence and will transition into a collegiate sport for the 2017-18 school year. The team plans to practice and play on the new tennis courts constructed on Newark Road last year.