Despite being in its offseason, the tennis team has starting training in various opens and invitationals across the Southwest to get prepared for the season next semester.
While building off their success from last season, the team knows it will have its work cut out for it this year.
“Last year we had a really good season and I feel like other teams kind of underestimated us,” said Nico Agritelley, sophomore from Dallas. “I feel like we came out of the box really strong last year and set a really high goal for ourselves, so hopefully this year’s teams won’t necessarily do that and they’ll, not give us more respect, but they’ll see us as more of a threat than they thought we were.”
The team went 17-10 overall for the season last year and took second in the conference with a 5-1 record.
“Most teams take us more seriously now, knowing we’re Division I and knowing some of the Texas guys we have,” said Marco Bensley, junior from Stellenbosch, South Africa. “Before, they didn’t really know who we are since we were mostly international guys, but now they know the guys on the team and they have respect for them.”
The team lost significant players from last season and will be looking to incoming freshmen to help fill the gaps.
“All of (the freshmen) are solid,” Agritelley said. “All of them are really good and I’m really excited to see what they can bring to the table because we lost our lines one and two this year. I really think that they’re going to help pick up the slack and increase our strength in the lower half of the lineup.”
Due to the young nature of the team, freshmen will have to rely on upperclassmen to lead and show how to adjust to the program.
“I think Guilherme (Gesser) will definitely do his part for the team and show that he cares and try to lead us in the right way,” Bensley said. “And also the juniors – we’re vice-captains for the team and we know our role and what we need to do to show the others what is right to compete and to win.”
Agritelley said the team’s coaches have helped the team accomplish its goals and have helped the players get motivated to play.
“Head coach Hutton Jones is a great coach,” Agritelley said. “He motivates us, he really gets us going and he just knows how to fire us up. And our assistant coaches, John Walker and Juan Nunez, both are great tennis coaches. They know strategically and physically what to do.”
There are still things the team needs to work on before the season starts if it wants to accomplish the goals that the coaches have set and the players have set for themselves.
“I think we need to work on our toughness,” Agritelley said. “Just being able to stay out there on the court for however long it takes, four, five hours if necessary, and just grind our opponents down to nothing.”
Bensley said the team will be ready to compete when spring comes.
“I know we will be good and we’ll be good competitors,” Bensley said. “I know everybody will do their job. I’m just really excited for the season to start and for the new year to get going.”