Men’s and women’s tennis teams begin spring seasons

Conner Hazelrigg returns a serve in a meet last fall. Photo courtesy of Kyle Rivas

Following a year-long hiatus to battle leukemia, tennis coach Paul Worstell  has returned to hopefully bring the William Jewell Men and Women’s Tennis teams to the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) tournament at the end of the season. The spring season is crucial for the tennis team as unlike the fall season, their matches actually count towards their records. Coach Worstell is incredibly excited to be back from his hiatus, and believes that this is one of the best groups of players wo which he could have come back.

In order to achieve this, both the men and women’s tennis team has been working their hardest to qualify. Jan. 24 and 25, the teams played against two Division I teams, University of Missouri – Kansas City and Creighton University, in exhibition matches.

Unknown to most Jewell students, the tennis team also has late night practices. Typically the tennis team practices from 10:00 P to 11:30 pm at the Clayview Country Club, and in order to get the most of their time, the two teams will usually share courts and practice at the same time. The practices for the team varies depending on what Coach Worstell feels the team should work on most, whether it be singles, doubles or even cardio workouts.

“There’s really not an ‘average’ practice to describe,” said Katy Lehenbauer, senior, “we always arrive and warm-up, and then Coach Worstell splits us up on the courts to perform specific drills, a tailored game, or practice matches.”

To be able to play at the GLVC tournament at the Country Club Plaza, the two teams have to place within the top four teams within the division. Currently the teams are expected to place fifth for women’s teams and sixth for the men’s. In order to achieve the team’s goal, Worstell stresses the necessity to reduce errors and improve consistency.

“Right now both teams are very solid in our doubles play,” said Coach Worstell, “We are a little inconsistent in singles, but as we get more practice time and matches under our belt we should be good.”

Despite the loss of a few seniors, Coach Worstell expects that the team will only continue to improve throughout the season with the fresh talent in the first-year players.

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