Written and Media by Ransom Cochrane.
This spring the 2018 Men’s Tennis Team came into the season with high hopes and even higher expectations that they would dominate and work their way up to the conference title champions. Well, they certainly are bringing the competition. So far, they have competed in thirteen matches and, of those thirteen, they have only fallen short once. All the members of the team are excited to be competing at such a high level, and they all believe they can take the conference.
I spoke to a couple of the players to get their take on this season so far and find some of the skills that have helped them. They are on the home stretch of the season; it has all been a big team effort, and that is not going away anytime soon. Playing with a higher purpose in mind and seeing the big picture, they will be right where they want mid-April when it comes to conference play.
Daniel Pieplow says, “I think in all sports it’s not if you lose, but when. What matters is how you handle it when it happens. I can’t speak for the entire team, but for myself, the one loss won’t affect how I go about playing matches. If you can give it your all physically and mentally every day at practice and during matches, you’ve had a successful season, regardless of the results.”
Dustin Vincent also has high hopes for his team. He believes coming out of Hilton Head, South Carolina, gave them a lot of confidence, but the season isn’t quite over; there is a much bigger prize that is motivating them. “We’re still hungry for more!” said Vincent.
Last year, the team only consisted of eight players, so this gave each individual a bigger role, and it allowed Coach Brannon to give them a bit more attention. This year the team has eleven student-athletes and a new team bond was created. The culture is different than years past, and this helped turn the team from good to great. GU has been able to defeat teams they have not been able to beat in previous years. As the season progresses, the players are getting closer and closer to the conference tournament. With the twelve wins under their belts, they can go into the upcoming conference matches with high confidence and have a much better shot for the conference championship.
Every team learns a lot when they come up on top with a win, but they learn even more when they experience loss. Because of this learning experience, players can come to understand everything that needs to be improved and what can be fixed.
“I think with only having one loss, everyone has been very confident. Although, I believe the loss made the team better by seeing really good competition and understanding how we can grow from that,” said Vincent.
Coach Brannon and everyone on the team can see the potential and what the Greenville Men’s Tennis Team is really capable of. Watch this quick interview video with Captain Nate Wieland and Zach Plocher about the team’s progression, and come check out the Men’s Tennis Team this spring!