Blugold men’s tennis prepares for spring season

Men’s Tennis displays maturity in ITA Tournament as they gear up for season

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Experience or youth, you either have one or the other.

However, this is not the case with the UW-Eau Claire men’s tennis team as they have a combination of experience and youth in which they look to put to use this upcoming season, Captain Will Weyenberg said.

After going 17-7 last season, the Blugolds look to build on the success they enjoyed last year as they head into the 2015-16 season.

Last year the Blugolds ended up winning four of their final six competitions and they carried the positive momentum into their first competition of the season this past weekend, Weyenberg said.

The Blugold men’s tennis team competes annually at the ITA Tournament in the fall, and then the season picks up again after winter break concludes. This past weekend, the Blugolds competed in the ITA Tournament located in St. Peter, Minnesota. The tournament consisted of top-ranked teams from around the Midwest.

Coach Gillman was excited about his team’s first performance this season, saying this was the best his freshmen class has ever done in this tournament.

The talented freshmen class that Gillman raved about showed their poise he said, as the Blugolds had three quarterfinalists, two semifinalists and one individual who competed in the championship.

“Everyone had success, a couple players beat number one caliber-players and the freshmen competed extremely well,” Gillman said. “They had the most success I’ve ever seen as freshmen.”

Looking forward to the season, Coach Gillman said he wants to push to be in the elite category of teams.

To be elite, Gillman said leadership, teamwork, communication and sportsmanship are the key aspects that will enable the Blugolds to be successful.

With a diverse team that includes two seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and five freshmen, the Blugolds have many weapons at their disposal, Gillam said.

Kyle Hoffman, Will Weyenberg and Jordon Stevens are the returning upperclassmen and captains that look to lead the Blugolds to victory this season.

“Most teams have a few great players, but we have twelve,” Weyenberg said. “On any given day, our No. 10 singles player could beat our No. 1 singles player.”

Hoffman, a senior from Franklin has been a Blugold tennis player for three years now and is ready to get back to business, he said.

The success from the freshmen class in the ITA Tournament is motivating to the whole team, Hoffman said.

“Their success gives us a boost of team spirit,” Hoffman said. “Knowing that we can be successful from top to bottom shows that we are a program that is well-rounded and growing.”

The Blugolds look to keep their success and positive mindset going by having a strong bond between teammates and great communication on the court, Stevens said.

Whether it comes from the underclassmen or upperclassmen, the Blugolds tennis program looks to be focused, and they have set aside specific aspects where they know they need to improve, Hoffman said.

Hoffman said the team’s goals and emphasis in practice everyday are unity, mental-toughness and dedication.

The focus of mental-toughness seems to be a strong point for the Blugolds as Gillman said he is emphasizing and motivating his players this season to stay calm and not let any mistakes cloud their judgement on the court.

“I’ve been pushing the upperclassmen to play with maturity and utilize their self-control,” Gilllman said. “We don’t want to take the backseat to any team. If we play tough, we are going to be successful this year.”

Even though the season resumes in February, the Blugolds will continue practice over the winter months in preparation for match play in spring.