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Men’s Tennis Aims for Top Half ARC Finish Despite Poor Opening Weekend

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Men’s Tennis Aims for Top Half ARC Finish Despite Poor Opening Weekend

Hannah Hueschen

Hannah Hueschen

Hannah Hueschen

Hannah Hueschen

Tanner Frost, Sports Editor

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Though the weather outside hasn’t been ideal for the Buena Vista Men’s Tennis team, they’ve still been hard at work preparing for their spring season. 

Coming off of their campaign which saw the Beavers end without a win in American Rivers play, the team has something to prove in their 2019 campaign. Now in his fourth seasonHead Coach Brett Groen has set the standard for this year’s team from the start.  

Our goal every season will be to place ourselves in the top half of the conference so that we can earn a birth to the conference tournament,” says Groen. “As we focus on each match, our goal is to improve each time out so that we are playing our best tennis later in the year when the conference matches start to pour in.”  

To reach the goal of the conference tournament, the team will have become an underdog story in a tough schedule. Nonetheless, Groen expects his team to grab upsets in the ARC along the way to the top half of the standings. 

“I truly believe that we can be one of those dark horse teams that you don’t want to have to play later in the year,” explains Groen. We have an incredibly stacked conference, the best it has probably been from top to bottom. Each practice, each match, I see us improving and closing the gap between us and the rest of the conference.” 

Buena Vista finished their 2017-2018 campaign 5-13 overall, going 0-8 in American Rivers Conference play. The Beavers however, did pick up big non-conference wins against Northwestern, Marian, Mount Marty, North Central, and Ripon. 

Practice has been particularly focused for the Beavers, and Coach Groen has been working the team hard to compete with the best. 

For our team, our practice focus has been on footwork, speed, and just hitting more balls than anyone else,” says Groen. “We have to play catch up by working harder and producing as much of that experience as we can right now.  

John Foss, BVU’s #1 in Singles, knows the team has to focus on timing their swings and working on their backhand volleys specifically. 

The team’s relative youth has been a talking point for the squad. As they look to improve week-in and week-out, some members have yet to compete at the collegiate level. 

We still have a relatively ‘young’ team, as we have no seniors on the squad and two freshman. There’s also two sophomores in the top seven.  All things look up for the team, it’s just how fast can we get there,” says Groen. 

With five meets in March and seven in April to cap off the year, Buena Vista looks to improve upon a solid foundation. The Beavers also began their season with a double header against two conference opponents which will be covered next. 

Recap: 

Beginning both spring and American Rivers Conference play this past weekend, the Beaver Men’s Tennis team traveled west to Lincoln for a pair of matches. 

Buena Vista, Luther, and the hosting Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolves were the three teams competing on the day, and BV came out on the short end losing both matchups. 

Taking on Luther first, the Beavers got off to a slow start while the Norse dominated throughout. Players Foss, Danny Kramer, and Aaron Pluym took losses in Singles at the #1, #2, and #3 spots respectively. 

The latter half of the matches were more of the same story, with the Norse only allowing five total points against them in the match. Luther would take a huge 0-9 win as BV fell to 0-1 on the season. 

Buena Vista would look to bounce back right after against Nebraska Wesleyan, as Foss began the match positively. After a hard-fought battle, Foss won the first point for Buena Vista with a three-set match. 

However, the Prairie Wolves would counter back with seven straight wins in singles and doubles to increase their lead to 7-1 over BV. 

To cap off the day, the #3 doubles team for the Beavers’ in Aaron Mumm and Kris Mintle grabbed a big 8-4 decision. Despite the win, Nebraska Wesleyan would take the win 7-2. 

Pleased with the win in his first collegiate outing, Mintle, a freshman, realizes the game has changed between high school and college. 

“Everything is a lot more competitive and faster in college. I realized that nothing was going to come easy and I will have to rely a lot more strategy rather than just hitting good shots,” says Mintle. 

Mintle’s partnership with Mumm allowed the duo to shine on the day, and a positive bond between the pair proved vital. 

“I like playing with Aaron,” says Mintle. “Together we are able to shake off bad points with a little humor rather than dwelling on them. Our chemistry will keep getting better and better the more we play together.” 

Despite the pair of losses, Coach Groen saw positives with the team’s performances. 

“Luther plays hard and goes right after you, and it was good to see us stand up and face the challenge without just throwing up our arms and not giving it our all. We fought,” explains Groen.  

He added that, “Against Nebraska Wesleyan, this was our best finish against them from top to bottom and the guys all felt like there would have been a much different outcome had we played them later in the year.  We had some close matches, three of which went to a third set tie break. If we turn those around, we might have come out with our first conference win. We will use that going forward.” 

Looking forward for Buena Vista, the team travels to Lakeville, Minnesota to take on Loras and Bethany Lutheran in a doubleheader. The match against the Duhawks will begin at 9:00 a.m. 

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Men’s Tennis Aims for Top Half ARC Finish Despite Poor Opening Weekend