The Wildcat men and women’s tennis teams started their fall season last weekend with the men competing in the Aggie Tennis Invitational, where Hans Hach won single competition, and the women competing in Stephen F. Austin Invitational.
“The fall is getting your legs under you and figuring out who your doubles mate will be in the spring,” said head coachÂ Hutton Jones. “Truly laying a foundation is what the fall’s all about.”
At the Aggie Tennis Invitational hosted by New Mexico State University, Hach won the singles title, defeating New Mexico’s Sammy Iftikhar in the finals. Other schools competing at the tournament were University ofÂ New Mexico, New Mexico State, Arizona, Northern Arizona and Western New Mexico.
Jones said for the last 15 years, the men’s team has started its fall season at the New Mexico State fall tournament, but no Wildcat has ever won in the top ranked grouping – the “A” draw.
Hach said he didn’t have a strategy. He just focused on getting through each match.
“It was pretty tough,” Hach said. “I had to play eight matches – two a day. The tournament was made up of Division I schools and was physically really hard.”
Hach’s quarterfinal match lasted three hours, and Hach only had a one-hour break before the semi-finals began.
“It was a struggle for him and competitive all the way through,” Jones said. “It was neat to see Hans at another level of fitness and strength compared to last year.”
Hach said winning the tournament was a good success but he is focused on the Regional tournament, which will take place Sept. 29 in Springfield, Mo.
At the Stephen F. Austin Invitational last weekend, the women’s team finished with a 14-10 singles record and an 8-4 mark in doubles. The women have won their regional title for the last 15 years. Jones said women’s tennis was off to a good start and plans to continually step it up.
He said the team usually uses fall tournaments to prepare for the spring. Fall is more of an individual season, and spring is the main team season, he said.
“The girls and guys play with different colleges in the big tournaments,” Jones said. “We were not taking on another school directly because it’s more of an individual type tournament.”
Jones said both teams couldn’t prepare for their first tournament because the NCAA allows tennis only a 45-day practice window.
“Basically, our Day One was the first day of the tournament,” Jones said. “The players hit on their own and we encourage them to do sets. This is really the first time we’ve gotten together as a team.”
Jones said the biggest goal in the fall is the ITA South Central Regional Tournament. Last year, both Wildcat teams won singles and doubles. He said the team goal is for someone to win Regionals.
“I’ve got good players,” Jones said. “It won’t be easy, but I definitely think we will be the favorite to send players to Nationals.”