Albion College’s tennis program enters the spring season with heavy hearts but plenty of motivation after head coach Scott Frew announced he would relinquish his position due to medical reasons.
“Its rough dealing with the whole situation,” Team captain Marissa Cloutier, Grosse Ile sophomore, said. “Its an adjustment but were dealing with it.”
Brandon Still, ’08 alumnus, has taken over as head coach for Frew. Still, formerly an assistant coach for the Britons, was an All-MIAA performer at Albion in 2006 and 2008. Although he’s excited to be head coach, Still said he has mixed feelings about his new position.
“I wish coach Frew was still here and I would of liked to come back as an assistant coach,” Still said. “But if somebody had to take over, I’m glad it was me and not someone else.”
Expectations are high for the women’s squad, which won the MIAA title last season. That team went undefeated in league play and finished with a record of 15-4 (8-0 MIAA). The Britons are confident they can repeat that performance.
“We want to win the MIAA again, that’s a big one,” Cloutier said. “Another big thing for us is just staying positive throughout the season with the transition, and staying positive in practice and working really hard.”
Solid play from Cloutier, along with fellow captains Katie Blumberg, Farmington Hills sophomore, and Sarah Towler, Milan senior, will be critical if the Britons are to repeat as MIAA champions.
“Those girls are important,” Still said. “Not just in terms of matches, but for the team’s overall energy they are definitely the key.”
The men’s team will look to improve on last season’s 6th place finish. The Britons had a record of just 3-16 (1-5 MIAA). The team will be characterized by its youth this year, and features just one senior on its roster.
“The men’s team had a difficult season last year,” Still said. “It’s my hope that this year we can look to compete in the top half of our conference.”
The Britons will rely heavily on captains Tucker Blake, Bloomfield Hills junior, Billy Sessions, Grosse Pointe Woods senior, and David Richter, Lansing sophomore. Richter said that one of the team’s goals this season is to upset Kalamazoo College. The Hornets have not lost a league match since 2003.
“I would really like to upset Kalamazoo,” Richter said. “We have a deeper team this year and a younger team so I think we have a good shot.”
The Britons open up their season on Feb.11 against Cornerstone University. It is the Golden Eagles’ first season as a program. The women’s team plays at 10 a.m. and the men’s squad takes the court at 2:00 p.m.
For Still it will be his first match as a college head coach. However, he said his peers have welcomed him despite his young age.
“A bunch of coaches called me right away when they found out,” Still said. “So i’ve been pretty happy about the reception from the coaching community.”
Photo courtesy of Albion College Sports Information