The Albion College Tennis teams have had a hot start to the conference season.
The women’s team has gone 3-0 after starting MIAA play with a 9-0 decision over Adrian College, their third dual match sweep this season. They have also defeated St. Mary’s College 8-1, and on Wednesday pulled out a 5-4 nail-biter against Calvin College.
On the men’s side, the Britons bounced back from a 9-0 loss to Kalamazoo College in the MIAA opener to defeat Adrian College on Thursday. One highlight for the Britons was Billy Sessions, Grosse Pointe Woods senior, who was the first to finish his singles match.
The Albion women are one of the two remaining undefeated MIAA teams, along with Hope College. The two teams don’t play each other until the last match of the season, and while it is unlikely that they both remain undefeated until then, the match is likely to have MIAA Championship implications.
Many individual Britons are putting together excellent seasons. Sarah Towler, Milan senior, is undefeated in singles play this season, and has only been involved in one doubles loss. Towler won a third-set tiebreaker at Calvin to clinch the one-match victory.
There are several Britons who have yet to lose in MIAA play, including Irene Chen, Shenzhen, China first year, and Katie Blumberg, Farmington Hills sophomore, whose only losses have come against non-Division III competition.
One thing Coach Brandon Still knows the team has is focus.
“I don’t even have to tell them,” Still said. “They know that the goal is to win an MIAA championship, and we haven’t achieved that goal yet.”
While the first match of the men’s season may have been a struggle, the Britons made up for it in the second match against Adrian, winning 9-0 at home to match the Briton women. They are now 1-1 on the conference season.
But their coach felt that the biggest thing the men’s squad lacked was confidence.
“We think we can compete with any team in the conference,” Still said. “But after the tough match to start the season, the team needs to keep believing they can win.”
The team has adjusted their practices now that the MIAA season has begun, focusing less on conditioning and more on match-play skills. The team feels the adjustment worked.
“We weren’t as prepared as we could have been going into the season,” said Brandon Kosinski, Grosse Pointe first-year. “Now we’re starting to get it. We know what we need to do to win.”
Both teams certainly look better than at the beginning of the season, and when asked what the biggest area of improvement was, Coach Still commented on their doubles play. But assistant coach John Vinson sees it differently.
“When the season first started, I didn’t see them coming together,” Vinson said. “Now they’re a team. They hang out, they go out to dinner together.”
Hopefully, as the MIAA season wears on, that off-court togetherness can translate into on-court success.
Photo Courtesy of Albion College