Tennis Takes to the Courts – Men and women’s seasons off to a strong start in conference and non-conference play

Albion College women’s tennis emerged victorious after playing Alma College in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association conference play on Tuesday.  The doubles team of Morgan Watler and Marissa Messenger won a tie-breaker that carried the team to a 5-4 final score.

In singles competition, Shelley Zamler, Beverly Hills junior, Anna Gundersen, Whitehall senior, and Morgan Watler, Novi senior, all beat Alma opponents.  The Zamler-Gundersen doubles team along with the team of Messenger and Watler also won matches against the Scots.

Other recent activity for both the men and women’s tennis teams included a team training trip in Orlando, Fla. over spring break.  The trip allowed both teams to face intense competitions against schools with larger tennis programs, including Cumberland University, Mankato State, Mount Saint Mary, Colby-Sawyer, and Salve Regina.  The women’s team fell only to Cumberland in a 5-4 loss.    The men’s team won against Colby-Sawyer with a 9-0 victory.

“We’ve lined up against a few DII teams, some top 25  ranked DIII teams, and solid NAIA teams so far,” said Scott Frew, head men and women’s tennis coach.  “Certainly the idea was to line up some quality competition and see how we fared.  If we struggled, then hopefully we realized what they did better than us and if we compared well, or won, then our confidence should get a bit better heading into the MIAA portion of the season.”

The women’s team has had a strong beginning to their season with only two losses to date, regardless of  the division of the team.

“I think that our team has the capability to beat any team, really,” Zamler said.  “We have to treat every match the same, no matter what division the school is, and we realize that they have everything to lose and we have nothing to lose against [the bigger teams] because we are the underdogs.”

Albion men’s tennis fell to Ferris State University in non-league play on Tuesday in a 9-0 sweep by FSU.  Ben Miller, Carmel, Ind. senior, won his second set of his singles match in a 6-3, 4-6 score, but fell 10-5 in the last set.

“The strongest thing about the team this year is that everyone seems to get along pretty well.” Miller said.  “I think that our biggest need for improvement is dedication to getting better through practice that we have.”

According to Daniel Frank, Ann Arbor sophomore, despite the setbacks in matches the team is comprised of a close-knit group of players and is having a lot of fun facing tough competition together.

“I think that playing these teams is making us into stronger players,” Frank said.  “Playing better players helps us become better.”

The Albion women’s tennis team is currently 6-2 for the season, 1-0 in MIAA play.  The men’s team is 1-8 for their current season and have yet to break into conference play.

“This season has been really fun so far,” Zamler said.  “We’ve all gotten really close.  A lot of us spend time together outside of tennis which has been really fun, too.  Unfortunately, we are losing two seniors this year who are vital assets to our team.  It’ll be hard without them next year, but all the more reason to win the MIAA this year!”

Albion women’s tennis faces off against Grand Valley State University on March 27 at 12pm at home, and the men’s team will play in the Kerry Sweard Invitational this coming weekend on March 27-28.

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