Women continue undefeated, men struggle in Florida

Grand Valley Senior Darylann Trout hits a backhand

Grand Valley Senior Darylann Trout hits a backhand

Zach Sepanik

It was a tale of two performances for the Grand Valley State University tennis teams during spring break. Staying undefeated, the women’s squad racked up a perfect record while the men’s team stumbled against tough competition.

GVSU head coach John Black saw positives from both the men and women while they competed in Florida.

“Our spring trip went really well,” Black said. “The men picked up some wins here and there, and they have come together and, I think, will be pretty tough come conference play. The women are playing really solid, and it was good to get outdoors.”

In their first match of the trip, both teams faced Division I opponent Presbyterian College. The women won a close match, 4-3, while the men were shut out, 7-0.

“Our match against Presbyterian College was a wake-up call for how difficult the competition would be while in Florida,” said senior Darylann Trout, who played at five singles and one doubles for the women’s team. “Also, our match against Rockhurst University was really important because if we beat them, then we would keep our No. 1 Regional ranking and be able to host regionals.”

The women continued their strong play over the next week as they picked up wins against Walsh University, Southern New Hampshire University and Upper Iowa University.

“Winning the matches showed us that we can basically beat anyone because we played some really good teams, and even though we were rustier than all of them, we still won,” Trout said. “We know how important every win and every spot on the team is. Right now it is all about practicing and staying in shape to stay competitive for the rest of the season.”

Meanwhile, the men faced stiff competition with struggles against Florida Southern College, the seventh-ranked team in Division II, Rockhurst University and Vincennes University. However, the team did pick up a 7-2 win against Walsh University.

“It was a great experience for our team, and we definitely learned a lot,” said junior Josh Kazdan, who plays at No. 5 singles and No. 3 doubles for the men’s team. “We played very good teams while in Florida – teams that are ranked higher than us – and it was good to match up against the tough opponents.”

With the sunny Florida weather and Walt Disney World behind them, it is back to reality in Michigan and preparing for the rest of the season.

“For the women, we want to stay sharp and keep our focus so that when we go to nationals, they will play their best tennis,” Black said. “And for the men, Florida was good preparation for conference play, which starts next weekend.”

The Laker men will play five games in three days spanning Thursday through Saturday this weekend with the conference opener against Michigan Technological University at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The women will take a few weeks off before an April 8 match-up at Hope College.

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