The Albion College men’s and women’s tennis teams both resumed an annual tradition of spending their spring break hard at work in Florida.
The Briton teams each played four matches in five days, a grueling schedule in unfamiliar conditions. The four matches were double what the team had played previously this season, and it was the first time the teams had seen hot weather this season.
Coach Brandon Still was excited to use the vacation to see where his team really stood after two straight strong wins to start the season.
“We hadn’t been really pushed to our limit yet. We hadn’t lost on either side, so I was really interested to see how we did playing against better teams,” said Still.
When the teams got to Orlando they wasted no time getting ready to play, spending the first day practicing to acclimate to the heat and outdoors.
“I don’t think anyone is going down there thinking it’s a beach-and-sun spring break,” said Still. “It’s an opportunity to get better as teams.”
On the men’s side, the Britons came away from Spring Break with a 1-3 record including a 7-2 loss to Aquinas College, a tough 5-4 loss to the Rochester Institute of Technology, and a 9-0 loss to Ohio Northern University that closed the trip. The Britons lone victory came against Colby-Sawyer College by a 7-2 score. The Albion men are now 3-3 on the season.
Despite the losses, several Britons came away with impressive individual performances. Danny Frank, Ann Arbor senior, had an extremely productive trip, winning three out of his four single matches, his only loss coming against Ohio Northern. The other victory against Aquinas came from David Richter, Lansing sophomore.
The women’s team came away with a 2-2 record, improving to 4-2 on the season. The Britons began with a tough 5-4 loss to Olivet Nazarene University, but followed it up with two straight 7-2 victories over RIT and Bryn Mawr College.
The trip ended with a 8-1 loss to Colby-Sawyer, who are ranked ninth in Division II, a Division above the Britons, and made the Division II Final Four last season. The Briton’s only victory came from Sarah Towler, Milan senior, who won a 2-6, 6-3, 10-5 decision. Towler was undefeated on the trip.
Brandon Kosinski, Novi first-year, thought the trip was a valuable experience for the team.
“It a blast,” Kosinski said. “We definitely got closer as a team. I think that was the meaning on going on spring break together.”
Kosinski felt that the team bonding was extremely important this early in the season.
“We were all there for each other and we were all cheering,” Kosinski said. “It was a great time being with everybody and playing tennis. Its what we love to do.”
The team now looks ahead to the beginning of the conference season, with the women beginning March 24 at home against Adrian, and the men at home the following Saturday against Kalamazoo. Coach Still and the team have adapted practices to prepare for the season.
“I think that since we’ve come back we were able to really address where we need work,” Still said. “Already in our practices the intensity has gone up and the quality has gone up.”
Kosinski said he views the more difficult practices as a positive.
“I definitely think we’re getting prepared for it the right way,” Kosinski said. “Our practices have definitely changed. I feel confident.”
The team only has a few weeks to prepare for the MIAA season, but it looks like the spring break trip renewed their focus and strengthened their resolve.