Tennis looks to a new season

Nate Powalie, Sports Columnist

  Ashland University’s Tennis teams dealt with struggles during the 2021 spring season, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced postponement of a couple of matches during the campaign, and neither squad could gain much traction, both finishing with under .500 records.

But as the teams prepare to enter their second season under head coach Timothy Dunford, there is a renewed sense of optimism surrounding the groups. 

For senior Stuart Brdicka, he’s thrilled to step in and be a leader for his squad.

“We have three incoming freshmen this season, and I want to step into a new role left behind by P.K. (Soni), and making sure that the team lives up to our expectations,” Brdicka said. “I’m excited to see what’s ahead for the GMAC schedule.”

Ashland will be participating in its first season in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (GMAC) in 2021 after playing in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the last 25 years.

As for Dunford, he seems to be getting to know his team well. One particular player likes the style that the coach displays.

“I definitely enjoy playing under Dunford,” senior Gabi Hudec said. “He tries to get to know us as players, and that makes him very personable.”

Dunford is no stranger to Northeast and North Central Ohio, as he worked as the director of operations for the College of Wooster Tennis team in the 2013-14 season. 

Because Dunford is a team-first guy, it helps him build good relationships with key pieces.

For Brdicka, his view of his coach includes high praise for the team-first mentality.

“Coach shows that he’s all in for the team,” Brdicka said. “He really has our best interest at heart.”

After a year filled with downturns and negativity due to COVID-19 and early struggles, the Ashland University tennis teams are ready to bounce back and put together a solid first season in the GMAC in 2021.

Senior Gabi Hudec returns a serve in a game during the spring 2021 season. (AU ATHLETICS)