Men and women’s tennis ace teamwork


Ava Nadel

Katie Claggett ’19, practices before beginning the tennis season after winning against Emory and Henry. // Photo by Ava Nadel/Guilfordian

The men’s and women’s tennis teams are ready to swing into action as they head into conference season.

“Our goal leading up to the tournament is to finish strong in the regular season and to hold on to our current ranking in the conference,” said first-year Tate Godwin. “I think we’re all looking forward to building upon the momentum we have and continuing to improve individually and as a team before the tournament.”

Although the team is excited about moving forward, the last few matches of the season have been mixed.

“For our last couple of matches, the ladies on the team have played their absolute hardest and have put 100 percent into their doubles and singles matches,” said junior Chandler MacDonald.

“It has been a tough season because some of the ladies have gotten hurt and/or ill, but through that, we have become strong as a team and have been able to play against hard players that are not at our level.”

Sophomore Katie Claggett is more optimistic.

“The women on the team have had individual successes during our recent matches, even if the score didn’t always reflect it,” said Claggett. “I had a great match recently versus Emory & Henry (College), and I came out with a win in singles, which was fun.”

Although most tennis matches are played individually or with one other person, the bonds on the team are strong.

“We are like tigers and lions,” said CCE student Maureen Smith. “You see, an individual tiger can defeat an individual lion in a single fight. However, a pack of tigers cannot beat a den of lions because lions fight as a team.

“In our singles matches, we play our sets like tigers. However, in our doubles matches, we play our sets like lions with cohesiveness. The point is that no matter the outcome, we consistently celebrate the winner in one another.”

As a team, junior Ben Levin is sure they can do well in the next few weeks.

“This team, from top to bottom, can play capable, smart tennis,” said Levin. “Our ‘next one up’ mentality reiterates that none of us are along for the ride, and we all contribute, whether that be on the court or off it.

“There is not one singular thing that we need to work on, but rather, we need to improve in every phase of the game. There is always room for improvement in every facet of the game.”

At the conference themselves the teams may be going up against old rivals.

“I’m excited about the likely opportunity of facing one or both of the teams, Bridgewater (College) and Washington and Lee (University), that defeated us in conference this year, so we can have a chance at redemption,” said junior Graham Pearson. “It will also be great getting to begin the tournament playing on our home courts instead of having to travel.”

Whatever the future brings for the team, first-year Alex Giddens is excited for it and for further bonding with her team.

“We always cheer each other on,” said Giddens. “So when you don’t think you’re doing well, your teammates can kind of see that and cheer you on more and help you in between games.”

Already, many are looking past conferences and into next year.

“I think the development of the young (first-years), along with senior talent, will be fun to watch,” said men’s captain and senior Levi Bruff. “(Juniors) Graham Pearson, Chasen Chacon, and Mesa Martorell are all strong players who will anchor the team. I think (first-years) Jon-Anthony Thomas and Tate Godwin will really impress next year, now that their first year will be behind them.”

Although there are several graduating seniors on both teams, head coach David McCain is excited about next season.

“For the women, I am hoping to add several new players to the team, which will make us a little deeper,” said McCain. “Several of our strong male players are coming back next, so we should have another good season.”

Others are focused on finishing strong.

“I could not care less about next season,” said Levin. “This season is not over. We have regular season matches to finish and a conference tournament right around the corner. When this year’s final point is played, we’ll shift to next year. Until then, though, we’ve got to funnel all of our energy, passion and focus on our next couple of matches.”