By: Jeremy Sharp & Brittney Holmberg
The Indiana Wesleyan University Wildcats are picking up the rackets once again for the spring season. The second half of the schedule is in full swing for both the men’s and women’s teams, but it hasn’t gone as smoothly as either side would hope.
After going 14-0 in the fall schedule, including an MCC Tournament Championship victory, the women’s tennis team has started out spring by going just 3-2. Those defeats have not hampered the team’s optimism toward the upcoming NAIA Tournament in Mobile, Ala.
“We’ve had a real success with the women’s tournament,” said coach Terry Porter.
These Wildcats are currently ranked No. 16 in the country, thanks in part to a reliable doubles team in Lauren Wilson (jr) and Andrea Meyering (jr), who have been playing together at IWU for multiple years.
Wilson said the pair’s extended time together has increased their chemistry and overall performance.
“I know how she’s going to play on the court, and she knows how I’m going to play,” said Wilson.
Coach Porter has high hopes for Wilson, Meyering, as well as the rest of the women’s team. The Wildcats approach the May tournament with confidence.
“We’re pretty highly ranked, and [we’re] respected at that rank,” coach Porter said.
On the men’s side, it’s been a rough spring season for the Wildcats. IWU bowed out in the first round of the MCC Tournament in the fall, going into the break with a 7-5 record. After a promising victory to start the new schedule, the Wildcats have dropped three straight matches, falling to an even 8-8 on the year.
At this point, the team is starting to look toward a bright future beyond the 2011-2012 season.
“I’m really excited to see what happens,” said team captain Luke Montgomery (sr). “My team’s getting some really good freshmen coming in next year.”
After Montgomery, the Wildcats’ lone senior, graduates following this season, the team will be looking for new leadership from some of its current younger players.
Kyle Johnson (fr) figures to step up in more of a leadership role next year, as he was the Wildcats’ lone MCC All-Conference player during the fall season.
“We’ve got a strong team,” said Johnson. “I think that next year’s leaders are going to do well.”