Last year the men’s tennis team fell short of their hopes by one loss to Whitman who held the title of conference champions. But this year, Head Tennis Coach Brian Jackson believes the team is stronger than ever and is ready for the win.
“We have guys that competed with Whitman last year, and we left with a bad taste in our mouths losing to them in the conference tournament,” Jackson said. “Most of those guys are back now and hungry to try to give it another run this year.”
Both the men and women’s tennis teams are working hard toward success. By implementing ways to improve each team, both groups hope to see their hard work pay off during the upcoming season.
Although both teams are on different terms in regard to their progression, Jackson believes the upcoming season will be an exciting one.
“The improvement the ladies made last year didn’t show up in the record, but was certainly there in team culture and commitment,” Jackson said. “Our women’s team is going to be led by two of the strongest players in the conference.”
Both captains on the women’s team, with prior experience, said they have built more strength both on and off-season to avoid having as many injuries as last year. They’ve also seen the team’s comradery grow.
“I think the team is going to be the strongest it has been while I’ve been here,” junior Carlee Rhodaback said. “We are also really bonding well with the men’s team, which will help us create a very tight knit program and create a good tennis culture here at Pacific.”
As for the men’s team, they have ramped up their off season schedule, putting in more work in the weight room and on the court. Their schedule will be more competitive this season with two matches against George Fox, Lewis and Clark and Whitman.
The team will face off against Whitworth for their first match on Feb. 21, followed by the best team in the conference the next day, Whitman.
“I want Boxer tennis on the map this year,” Upton said. “Everyone is as hungry as I am to finally break into the top 30 nationally.”
Jackson acknowledges that the team will not be able to make it through the season unscathed, but hopes to hit all cylinders and have the seniors leave with rackets raised high in praise.
“My goal this season is to do our best as a team and our best as a team means we make it to nationals,” senior Grayson Frazier said.
Regardless of the outcome, Frazier added, “This team has brought me lifelong friends and memories that I will always cherish.”