TU Tennis Aims for Successful Season

by Abby Ferguson
Staff

The men’s and women’s tennis teams are ready to begin their spring seasons and have high hopes for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship and NCAA tournament.

Sophomore Kelsey Fulderson is one of the many players who have helped the women advance to the NCAA Division III tournament.

The women kick off their spring season with a game at home against Centre College this afternoon at 4 p.m. after a 12-2 finish in the fall. The men start their season today, too, playing at Centre.

“The tennis team is excited and ready to get this season going with a home match, and (we) hope everyone comes and supports us,” senior Kelsey Fulkerson said.

Though plagued by injuries, senior Kyle Clayton said that the team has played well so far.

“We are currently just trying to get everyone healthy so that, come conference tournament time, we will be playing our best tennis,” Clayton said.

Head Coach Charles Brown expects success from his senior men this season. Brown said seniors Clayton and Lee Gammon are looking for their fourth straight all-conference selection. Three more seniors, Dalton Main, Trevor Scott and Clinton Colliver, are all looking for their fourth straight HCAC title and fourth straight trip to the NCAA tournament.

Sophomore Joseph Glass has contributed to the men being in first place in the Heartland Conference.

Brown is also looking to his sophomores. According to Brown, “Joseph Glass is looking for a break out year this spring. … (Also) Will Palmer looks to earn his second HCAC Most Valuable Player award this year.”

Each of these senior men is in the top six on the team.

“(We are) hoping that our leadership and experience will lead us to another HCAC title,” Clayton said.

The men have yet to lose a conference match in eight years, winning 55 straight.

The women won their first HCAC championship in the fall of 2009 and have already advanced to the NCAA tournament, which will be held May 14-16, where the men hope to join them as well. This would be the first time both teams are in the tournament together.

According to Brown, the women’s team will be lead by all-conference selections Fulkerson, juniors Katie Boone and Sarah Ridley and sophomore Stephanie Townsend, as well as sophomore Andi Mong and first-years Kaitlyn Hizny and Katie Moore.

“(The women) are very excited about playing in their first NCAA tournament in the Heartland Conference era,” Brown said.

“The matches coming up will hopefully get us prepared to do well in the tournament,” Fulkerson said.

The teams face different challenges in the fall and in the spring because in the second half they have to deal with more weather issues.

“In the fall we can start playing as soon as we get here and now it’s a lot of waiting for it to get warm and stop raining,” Fulkerson said. “We also all seem to be busier in the spring and it is hard to keep up the intensity, but our girls do a great job balancing everything.”

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