Tennis teams swinging back into action

Gage Eldridge, Reporter

The Ashland Tennis team has begun their spring season in full swing.

The hopes for the team this year are large and the coaches have a lot of faith in their players. Head Coach Tim Dunford and the players are happy to be back on the courts.

“It felt good to get back out on the court with the teammates,” senior Jordan Phelps said.

Similarly, sophomore Kortney Reed is ready to get back on the court. Reed was unable to play last season due to injury.

“It feels great to get back into the season after winter break,” Reed said.

The Eagles’ spring season began with a match against Northwood on Feb. 12 at the Racquet Club in Wooster. Despite a 5-2 loss, Dunford was happy with his players. In particular, he was impressed with how the doubles teams played.

Some players saw the match against Northwood as a chance to see what they need to work on throughout the season. Others took the match as an opportunity to see what kind of competition they will have throughout the season.

“Northwood is a really good team,” senior Gabriella Hudec said. “It was good to start against people who challenged us and showed us that this season isn’t going to be easy.”

Dunford wants his team to be mentally engaged right away, rather than waiting two or three games to find that winning mentality. He believes that the returning athletes are better than before and the players who join the team for the fall season are greatly improving.

The Eagles are confident they will achieve big things this season.

“I think everyone needs to keep an eye on us,” Phelps said. “We are a gritty squad. With a couple minor improvements, the sky’s the limit.”

Dunford hopes that individually, all of his players win all-conference and sportsmanship awards. As a team, he would like to win the academic award. Being in a new conference, he would like the men’s to finish top 4 and the women’s to finish top 5.

In previous seasons the tennis team has been in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, but has now switched to the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
“Since we’re in a whole new conference it would be a really great experience for us,” Hudec said. “Especially being a senior, ending my career here at Ashland making it to the GMAC championships would be awesome.”

The team would also love for more people to come out and cheer for them. Dunford’s goal for the Ashland University students and staff is for at least 100 fans to come out and support the team during their matches.

“Fans make a difference,” Dunford said.