St. Thomas women’s tennis is 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the MIAC after blanking Concordia-Moorhead 9-0 on Saturday.
The 15 member team is predominantly underclassmen with six freshmen and three sophomores, and coach Terry Peck said a young team comes with challenges.
“We’re a talented group. We’re very young. So I kind of expected a lot of ups and downs,” Peck said. “So I really had a focus to put the freshmen at ease.”
Junior co-captain Brittany Alexander said she thinks the Tommies will benefit from the newcomers.
“We’re really young, and that’s an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time, but I think this year it’s definitely a positive for us,” Alexander said. “We have some really good freshmen who came in and really loved the game, so I think it added a lot to the program”
A preseason vote by MIAC head coaches picked the Tommies to finish second in the conference behind Carleton College–the team that ended St. Thomas’ 2013 season. Peck said it will be interesting to see how those predictions play out
“I expect us to be successful again,” Peck said. “Conference is very tough. There’s probably six teams that can compete for the championship this year. Four definitely, and two that are capable of upsetting teams.”
Last year, St. Thomas did some upsetting itself by finishing fourth in regular season conference matches, but winning its way to second in the MIAC tournament. Junior co-captain and All-American Kara Lefsrud thinks this year will be just as successful.
“We only graduated two seniors last year, and we got a handful of great freshmen who are great contributors,” Lefsrud said. “Our dynamic is so great, and we all have such positive attitudes and we all have the MIAC championship on our mind.”
Looking beyond the MIAC, Peck said that he’s confident that his team has enough talent to be an NCAA title contender.
“Whether it happens this year or next year, we have a potential to be a top team in the country, to win conference,” Peck said. “Everybody wants to beat St Thomas, so we have to be ready every match.”
In addition to victories, Alexander said this season, the players are focusing on enjoying their time together.
“I think everyone expects big things from us, so we just hope we can go out there, win some matches, and most importantly have some fun, so it should be good.”
Molly Sigler can be reached at email@example.com