Men’s and women’s tennis look to continue success in 2012

GVL / Archive
Kristina Lucas practicing earlier this spring.

GVL Archives

GVL / Archive Kristina Lucas practicing earlier this spring.

Tate Baker

One word can be used to describe both the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Grand Valley State University: Determined.

After the women finished last season as the runner up to Northwood University in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), with the men finishing in third place on their side, it’s apparent they have their sights set on getting back in contention for a GLIAC title.

The women’s team returns 10 players from last year’s squad, including two returning doubles teams.

“Our key to the girl’s success is the doubles,” said Head Coach Jon Black. “If our doubles are clicking then we should be in the mix of things within the conference again this year.”

Black mentioned the “learning curve” that comes with playing doubles, but with the returning talent from last season, the adjustment should be easier.

Some common goals are shared within the girl’s tennis team, which includes a GLIAC crown, and of course making the NCAA tournament. Those goals are within close reach highly due to the newcomers, which include freshmen Claire Cooper and Rebecca Phyle, and Division I transfer Morgan Karney from Kennesaw State University.

The Lakers also return with two all-GLIAC players, Leah Dancz and Niki Shipman.

“Our roster is very deep,” Black said. “It should be fun to watch these girls come together and do great things this year.”

The team kicks off the season on September 14 against Malone University.

For the men, it’s a different story. With only two returning starters, Grand Valley’s men’s program will look to reload on the run in 2012.

Led by returning all-GLIAC performer Andrew Darrell, the men’s tennis team still has high goals, which, like the women’s team, include a GLIAC crown and an appearance in nationals.

“We have been just one match short of nationals each of the past two years,” Darrell said. “That alone is what is driving us. Being so close is making us push harder to get back so we again have the opportunity to make it to nationals.”

The Lakers have an impressive list of newcomers this year, which includes Michael Kaye, Andrew Boyle, Quin Sylow, and Francis Bertrand – a Division I transfer from Stony Brook University.

“I’m very excited to have Francis with us at Grand Valley” said Darrell. “He’s an outstanding player who has competed and beaten (Division I) teams such as Army and Lehigh.”

The men open their season on September 14 at the River Forest Invitational in Chicago.

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