On Jan. 14, MSU’s men and women tennis teams kicked off their season with an alumni match. The alumni match encourages former MSU tennis players to play against the current team. The men and women play different styles of matches; the men use the alumni match as a way to practice the structured match play they use throughout the season. The alumni were 10 strong for the men and won 5-2.
“This was the best alumni match I’ve seen in 10 years,” said Bobcat men’s tennis coach Michael Phillips. “The matches were very close and at a high level of tennis.”
The women structured their alumni match a little differently. Current MSU players played both against the alumni, and with them in doubles. “The team enjoys when the alumni come back,” said women’s head coach Denise Albrecht. “They love hearing stories and words of wisdom. At times it means more than from the coaches.” There were six alumni women present at the event.
The men are looking good after a fourth place conference finish last year. “It was a very exciting year; we barely snuck into the tournament, but our matches were so close we were also just points away from placing in the top two,” said Phillips. “We are definitely a solid team.”
The team hopes to win the Big Sky Conference Championship this year. To do so, they will have to beat the eight other teams in the conference. “It’s a long season and a lot can happen; there are five or six teams with the ability to win conference. Sacramento State has won conference more than anyone in the last decade, but we have been able to steal three championships from them,” Phillips said.
In addition to the competition itself, Phillips said, “We will enjoy the journey, working hard to play our best every day and have a great college tennis experience.” The men will be in Oregon on Jan. 20-22 to play Oregon, Portland and Portland State.
The women are getting ready for their season as well. “We are still young; we have a lot of sophomores and only one junior and senior,” said Albrecht. Last year the lady Bobcats made it to the conference tournament with Sacramento State, who has not lost a conference match in the last 12 years. The top four teams in the tournament advance to the finals.
“Everybody we play is tough; there is not one specific team that is our rival. We’re fired up for all the teams,” said Albrecht. “We hope to keep improving, working as a team, working hard, working together, and becoming better people.”