All sports teams enter a season with hope. Every team starts a season with the same record, and each team thinks that they have a chance to have a great year. The St. Ambrose women’s tennis team is no different.
The women’s tennis team’s season starts in mid to late August. They start playing competitive matches shortly after the school year begins, so they get into the swing of things right away. Their season is technically in the fall, but postseason play from regionals all the way to the national tournament are in the spring, so this is pretty much a year round sport for these players.
So far this fall, the team is off to a bit of a slow start. They dropped four of their first five matches. Although this is not the start they were looking for, Head Coach Rich Blomgren is not wavering in his optimism for his squad.
“I think overall we’re doing okay, but we can do better,” Blomgren said. “I’m anticipating we’ll play better towards the end of the season.”
In college tennis, teams play six singles matches and three doubles matches in a race towards five wins. Although there are more singles matches, doubles play is key for teams to win close matches with other teams. This is one area the tennis team could improve on.
“I think we are better doubles players but we haven’t performed like we should,” Blomgren said. “We always put ourselves down in a hole right off the bat. It’s hard to win matches when we’re always down.”
The good news for the tennis team is that Blomgren thinks this issue is correctable. Many people do not realize that doubles in tennis is a team game, just like any other team sport. Sometimes it can take time for a doubles team to create good chemistry together. While switching up the doubles lineup is an option, Blomgren thinks there is a much simpler way to resolve their doubles issues.
“At this point we’re getting out-volleyed,” Blomgren said. “We’re getting beat at the net so we need to improve our net play.”
There are signs that their play has already improved. The Queen Bees have been victorious in two of their last three dual meets to move their record to 3-5. Although this is not where they want to be, it appears they might be starting to play closer to the way Blomgren thinks they are capable of.
Another reason for the slow start might have been the youth on the team. They added three new players this year to a team that was already fairly inexperienced. For much of the year, numbers two through five on their lineup have consisted of players that came into the year with one year or less of playing experience for the Bees.
“All of them have contributed and I’ve been more than pleased with how they’ve played,” Blomgren said.