GVSU men’s tennis makes strong showing at Wisconsin-Whitewater Invitational

GVL / Emily Frye
Freshman Nick Urban prepares to serve on Friday Feb. 19, 2016.

GVL / Emily Frye Freshman Nick Urban prepares to serve on Friday Feb. 19, 2016.

D'Angelo Starks

After a long summer, the Grand Valley State University men’s tennis team finally opened up its 2017 season by competing in the Wisconsin-Whitewater Invitational.

The Wisconsin-Whitewater Invitational is a tournament that features both singles matches and doubles matches, and in their first action of the year, the Lakers had a solid showing in both divisions. 

In the singles department, the Lakers won the third, fourth and seventh-ranked singles flights. Coach John Black talked about how his team performed this weekend.

“We either won or took second place in all of the singles flights,” Black said. 

The team had a very strong start to the season in the singles division, but Black was more pleased about the way his team performed as a whole this weekend. 

“We had some solid results in doubles,” he said. “Overall, it was a good tournament. We got a lot of good match play.” 

Black thinks this year’s team has a nice blend of youth and experience. 

“We have a few players from each year, so I feel like we have good youth, but we have good experience to balance that out,” Black said. 

The Wisconsin-Whitewater invitational was the first tournament of the year for this team. They had a week of practice and then jumped right into match play. Black said he sees benefit in playing in a tournament right away. 

“It’s different playing in practice and playing against other teams, so our weaknesses and things that we need to work on have become more apparent,” he said.

With a strong first showing in the season, this team has a lot of positives they can build on for the rest of the year. 

“We competed well, and we fought hard as a team,” Black said. “Our play in singles was very solid. There are a few things we need to work on, but overall I felt we had a very solid tournament.”

Although the Lakers started out the year strong with this weekend’s tournament, they did not play perfectly as a team. Black addressed some things that need to be fixed in order for them to live up to their expectations. 

“This weekend, we had four doubles teams who hadn’t played together, so they need more time together,” he said. “We seemed to get passive at times because we were playing with new partners, and we weren’t sure where they were going to hit the ball. Overall, we just need to work on being more aggressive as a team.” 

Junior Nick Urban, the Lakers’ No. 3 singles player who won his flight, talked about what that means for him moving forward this season. 

“I felt that I was gaining a little bit more confidence as my matches went on,” he said. “I was feeling pretty good towards the end, and overall, I was happy with how things went.”  

Sophomore Eric Zwemer, who also won his flight as the No. 4 singles, said his experience against rival Ferris State was a huge boost in personal morale.

“Not a lot to complain about,” Zwemer said. “I’m glad I got to play Ferris. It gives me confidence for when we play them in the regular season.” 

The Lakers hope to continue their early success from this weekend when they host the ITA Regional Championship Friday, Sept. 15, through Sunday, Sept. 17.