By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
Balance is a dynamic part in the game of tennis.
As a player, one needs balance to control the game and stay in the point. As a team, the roster needs to be balanced in order to control match play and team victories.
This team has balance.
“We are very balanced up and down the roster,” said Hutton Jones, head tennis coach. “We returned five of the top six singles players; we also added two very talented players from South Africa.”
Sophomore Casper Steenkamp and freshman George Carstens are two of the newcomers to the men’s team this year. The two grew up together in Stellenbach, South Africa and have played tennis together since they were children.
Steenkamp is a transfer from Texas Tech where he played No. 5 singles as a freshman last year. The sophomore said he came to ACU because of the tennis program.
“I wanted to come to ACU because it is a great tennis school and because my best friend George is here too,” he said.
Jones said Steenkamp and Stellenbach were recruited separately but both decided to come to ACU.
“I recruited them individually, but once I got George here it didn’t take long to get Casper,” Jones said.
The team lost top seniors from last year in Julien Curatella and Sal Taweel, but Jones expects the new players mixed with the returning players from last year to form a better team … eventually.
“The fall season is a learning process,” Jones said. “We play a lot of matches against tough opponents to see what our team is made of. If you look at our team on paper, with five returning singles players and the new guys, we should be better when it’s all said and done.”
Senior Trent Broach said he is expecting the team to do better this year. Broach, who is trying to handle classes, club and tennis, has discovered balance is sometimes a tricky thing.
“Balancing club and tennis is especially hard because I can’t be at every social event,” Broach said. “But I just want to have fun in my last year, work on my game this fall and be prepared for the spring season.”
Broach will primarily be competing with Steenkamp and senior Clayton Morgan for the top spot on the team, Jones said.
The Wildcats will begin competition this weekend as they kick off the fall by hosting the annual ACU Wal-Mart Open.