By Luke Mich, Sports Editor
During spring break, when most students enjoyed the week off from school by going home or traveling south for the warm weather, the men’s tennis team ventured to Hilton Head, South Carolina, to start their spring campaign.
Junior player Evan Ray, double majoring in accounting and finance, expressed his thoughts on the spring break excursion.
“The Hilton Head [trip] was good this year. We had two matches over break and played two very good teams,” Ray said.
While the two matches, one against Hanover College and the other against Bridgewater College, did not go SVC’s way, Ray stated that the competition was beneficial for the team.
“The matches we played were a good test for us,” he said.
Back in the fall semester, the tennis team played four matches, winning all four by a comfortable margin. The team then did not play for nearly six months before playing their first spring match in South Carolina.
After another long trip—this time to Western New York—on the weekend of Mar. 19-20 to play Daemen College, the schedule has now shifted to strictly conference play.
“We are excited to get going with conference play. We are expecting to compete with some of the top teams in the conference this year,” Ray said.
Of all the in-conference matchups yet to come, one match stands out to most of the team: the match where SVC hosts Grove City on Apr. 5.
“We are looking forward to [playing Grove City] the most. They beat us pretty bad last year, but we got a lot of new freshmen this year that will help us compete against them,” Ray said.
Grove City, the defending conference champions, swept through the PAC competition last year, winning every conference matchup last season and going 8-0 overall in the PAC.
Yet, with an influx of fresh talent this season, the Bearcats tennis team, who were seeded second in the conference tournament last year, have much higher expectations for this year.
“We feel like if we play well, our team goal to win the PAC Championship is well within reach,” Ray said.
With conference play already underway—the team’s first conference matchup was a 5-0 win against Waynesburg on Mar. 25—every match is crucial, not just for the record, but also for seeding purposes. As the conference tournament begins in less than a month, the team will have little time to focus on past performances and must look forward to upcoming games to build off last season, when they were unable to compete in the playoffs due to COVID-related reasons.
The tennis team’s next match is scheduled for Thursday, Mar. 31 against Geneva at 4 p.m., which will take place at the SVC courts.