Tennis teams eager to prove themselves

“This is one of the best teams I’ve seen since I’ve been here at Guilford,” said senior tennis player and team captain Blake Brown. “We’re really pushing each other to get better, and we have a lot of guys who are willing to do what it takes to win.

“I think we can definitely make a push to get into the finals this year.”

Last season, the men’s tennis team was narrowly defeated in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference semifinals by Virginia Wesleyan, ending the season with a record of 7–11 and ranked sixth out of eight teams in the conference with a record of 5–5.

“Both the guys’ and girls’ teams did exceptionally last season, despite tournament losses,” said head men’s and women’s coach Dave McCain. “For the men’s team, I hope we can finish in the top four in general and top two in conference. For the women’s team, I hope we can finish in the top eight.”

The team has somewhat hedged their bets this season.

“I think we have a shot at first, but we’ll probably be the second in the conference behind Washington & Lee,” said senior, tennis player and Fellowship of Christian Athletes president Turner Votipka. “I’m not going to lie to myself, but we’re going to play our best.”

Washington & Lee’s reign as champs extends to the Guilford women’s tennis team, as they eliminated Guilford in the quarterfinals of the ODAC conference last season, ending the women’s season on an overall record of 6–11, with a conference record 4–7.

“I’m really optimistic for this season because I feel like we have finally created a good group through recruiting and first-years,” said sophomore tennis player Nora Prokosch. “But, I think this season, for the girls’ team, there’s going to be a little more insider competition because we’re closer in the rankings than we have been previously.

“We do play very aggressively, but there isn’t as much inner conflict as reflected in the guy’s team.”

Inner conflict challenges the men’s team, but Brown suggests that it is important for team growth.

“I think keeping focused is always hard, and being competitive within your own team is a great way to keep everyone at their top, but it also creates a lot pressure within the team dynamic,” said Brown. “So, it’s important to remind everyone that we are a team, that we’re in this together and we have to keep pushing and working hard.”

Among the competitors on the men’s team are junior Erik Meiler and Votipka who were a second team All-ODAC choice in #1 doubles last season. Votipka also holds a 10–7 record in #1 singles.  Senior Trevor Cox ended last season with a singles record of 9–7.

Meanwhile, for the women, seniors Haley Andrews and Allison Hewitt led the team last season, with both making great contributions to the team and hoping to carry that momentum into this season.

The women’s team’s opening games of the season have been postponed due to weather, so there is currently no way of telling how this season will shape up for them.