Nowhere to Play

GVL / Eric Coulter
Snow blankets GVSUs tennis courts. The players must travel to Grand Rapids to practice indoors

GVL / Eric Coulter Snow blankets GVSU’s tennis courts. The players must travel to Grand Rapids to practice indoors

Jon Adamy

Looking at the Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s tennis schedule, one can see familiar matchups with in-state rivals such as Davenport University and Ferris State University.

But there is one thing notably absent when looking at the Lakers’ schedule. Home matches.

The Lakers will be spending virtually all of the next two months competing on the road due to the fact that GVSU does not currently have an indoor facility where the tennis teams can practice or host visiting teams. The tennis teams are not set to host a single match at home until late April, when they can move to the outdoor courts.

The lack of indoor facilities means that the men’s team, along with the No. 15 women’s tennis team, wakes up around 6:20 a.m. on most weekdays and drives to an indoor facility to practice in Grand Rapids. GVSU head coach John Black said it’s not easy to find a place for the team to compete off campus.

“Unfortunately most years we travel more than we’re at home,” said Black. “That’s mainly because we don’t have an indoor facility on campus, and it’s very difficult to get court time at the private tennis club, or enough court time to do an actual match. So we do travel quite a bit.”

Junior Josh Kazdan said it’s embarrassing that GVSU does not have any kind of indoor facility for the tennis teams to practice. He said he has heard of plans to build a new indoor facility, but still has not seen anything come to fruition.

“They told me it would be done by my junior year, and this is already my junior year and it hasn’t even been started,” he said. “I don’t know why they don’t have one. If Hope College and Calvin College have them I don’t see why Grand Valley, the best out of all the schools in our area, doesn’t have anything even close to that.”

Senior Chelsea Johnston said the hardest part about constantly competing on the road is not enjoying the advantage of having fans outside of her coaches and teammates during matches.

“It’s definitely frustrating because we drive twenty minutes to practice at least every day to and from, so that just adds a lot more time and it just takes away a little bit of the experience,” said Johnston. “When we we’re down in Indy they have their own facility and it’s just a really great atmosphere to play tennis in.”

Johnston added that she’s disappointed she doesn’t get to showcase her skills to GVSU fans until the team goes outside in April.

“It would be really nice to look out into the crowd that you know that aren’t just your coach or the other girls that are on the court at the moment,” she said. “If we aren’t cheering for each other, then nobody else is, so that makes us really pull together as a team.”

The two-and-a-half month-long road trip continues for the men’s team this weekend, as they compete in the Grand Rapids City Tournament, which begins tomorrow. The women will have a weekend off before traveling to Illinois to take on Lewis University on Feb 18.

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