The Mesa Community College men’s and women’s tennis teams began to shake off the rust against Grand Canyon University’s club teams in a scrimmage on Oct. 2, looking to once again continue their streak of dominance.
“It was a great opportunity for both the men and women to work on things”, head coach Feroz Rast said regarding the scrimmage.
“I was very impressed with how everyone played. Today was also a good chance to work on some doubles competition for the first time this season. It was great to get this before our big match against Ottawa University in a couple of weeks,” said Rast.
It seems that, despite the success experienced by the program in recent years, the team is still looking for ways to get better at their craft. They seem to be looking ahead at the next challenge, instead of dwelling on past success.
That in it of itself is impressive regarding the overall success of last season. It would be very easy to rest on their laurels, and yet they continue to push forward.
Last season, the men’s tennis team notched their eighth straight Region I title after going undefeated in league play, a staggering feat for the program.
They placed 6th in the NJCAA Men’s Tennis championship tournament, and ranked as high as 12th nationally.
The women’s tennis team fell just short of winning the Region I title, going 6-3 in league play and falling just one point short of Eastern Arizona College in the standings at the end.
They placed 16th in their respective NJCAA tournament, and ranked as high as 25th nationally.
The women’s team’s main goal last season was to get the a Region I title, so while they took great strides in reaching that goal last year, this year they look to finally get the big one.
The women’s tennis team will look to returning sophomores Kylie Williams, Alethea LaCroix, and Laysha Gomez, who last year were key players in getting the program to perform as well as it did.
Williams in particular was critical in getting key wins, and her performances earned her placement in the NJCAA tournament.
One the men’s side, it will need to be the same brand of dominant play from Duncan Mulenga and Andrew Hoffman, two players who played exceptionally well last season as they both won their consolation finals during last season’s NJCAA tournament.
It is to be expected at this point that the Thunderbird tennis program is a top level program not only in the state, but also the country.
While these expectations may be mighty, it is nothing new to these players, this coaching staff, and the teams as a whole.
The Thunderbirds’ next match will be against the aforementioned Ottawa University club. The event will be held on Saturday, Oct 14 at the Paseo Racquet Club.