Tennis teams confident they will make post-conference play

By: Alexis Stallard, Editor-In-Chief

Newman’s tennis teams are starting the year off strong with several big wins: Most recently, both teams swept William Jewell and defeated Rockhurst.

Hopes were high for the season when it began with a 7-0 sweep against Pratt Community College, but not all the teams’ matches were as successful. Both were swept by UT Dallas on Feb. 25, leaving some team members surprised.

Senior Lauren Esfeld said she expected the team to be a tough opponent but that at the time, she didn’t think the sweep indicated what was to come for the rest of the season.

“We put up a good fight and have set goals to be competitive when conference play starts,” Esfeld said. “We are looking forward to keeping our momentum and competitive spirit going this season.”

Last season, the men finished 10-12 overall, and the women finished 14-11. Tennis director and head coach Shella Augspurger said that both teams are confident in their chances to make conference play again this season.

The teams asked her to set up matches with tougher opponents out of the MIAA conference to help them get ready for the competition they’d have to face, she said.

“We are a lot further ahead at this point than a lot of my teams have been in the past, and I’m really proud of the players stepping up and trusting to get better that we have to go out of our comfort zone,” Augspurger said.

While both teams are expecting to make the playoffs, Augspurger said that it may be difficult for the women’s team. In the past, eight teams moved into the playoffs, but this year, only the top six will move forward. Regardless, Augspurger said, the wins against William Jewell and Rockhurst, both teams that are used to winning, are a good sign for what is to come.

Esfeld said the women’s team is excited about its newest additions, freshmen Nicole Bono and Sofiko Zeikidze, and that the duo will bring a lot of talent to the program.

Up next: Both teams will take on Lubbock Christian at home on Thursday and Texas A&M-Texarkana at home on Sunday.

PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, Newman Athletics