The Albion College tennis team went into last Saturday’s season-opening match against Cornerstone with confidence. The Britons turned in a dominating performance, with both the men’s and women’s teams winning every one of their matches, for two final scores of 9-0.
The match was the first as head coach for Interim Head Coach Brandon Still. The women went 8-0 in the MIAA last year, but the men had a rocky season, finishing 1-5 in conference.
“Showing up at the beginning of the season was really important,” Coach Brandon Still said. “Especially for the men’s team.”
On the men’s side, the action began with David Richter, Lansing sophomore, and Tucker Blake, Bloomfield Hills junior, winning #1 doubles, by a score of 6-1, 6-4. The momentum began to build after going 4-0 in doubles matches, setting the stage for the impressive singles performance. Blake began by defeating Cornerstone’s John Andrew, 6-1, 6-4, and the Britons went on to win five out of the six singles matches in straight sets.
The women turned in a similarly remarkable performance. Not to be outdone by the men’s team, the Briton women won all six of their singles matches in straight sets, with both Marissa Cloutier, Grosse Ile sophomore, and Leah Saurman, Kentwood sophomore, turning in 6-0, 6-0 scores.
The Britons benefitted from momentum after the doubles performance.
“I think its huge,” Still said. “After we played the doubles, the team put positive pressure on each other to make sure we kept winning.”
The Britons are looking to maintain their winning attitude heading into this Saturday’s 5 p.m. home match against Indiana Tech.
“We need to keep working hard in practice and not underestimate anyone we’re playing,” Cloutier said.
Still expects this weekend to be more difficult than the last, and is looking forward to the challenge.
“This match will be tougher, but it will give us a better indicator of how we’re doing,” Still said.
Most important, however, is preparing for the MIAA season. Beginning the season strongly will give the team a needed boost before the conference season begins.
“We’ll have more confidence than last year,” Still said. “We have strong lineup.”
After this weekend’s match against Indiana Tech, the team will play four matches in five days over spring break, before beginning the MIAA season against Kalamazoo on March 31. Still seems confident that with hard work in practice, the team will be ready.
“We can always work on our skill set,” Still said. “What we need is to transition those skills into matches.”
If Saturday was any indication, while there is always work to be done, the team is up to the challenge.
Photo Courtesy of Albion College Sports Information
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