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Men’s tennis ready for CCIW tournament

Men’s tennis is preparing for their conference tournament, which will begin on Thursday and go until Saturday. The meet will be at Wheaton.

Senior and captain Austin Schoeck thinks the schedule for this season was tough, but it helped to prepare the team for what is to come.

“Overall, the season has gone very well. We have had a pretty tough schedule with a lot of close matches against great teams, which has really helped prepare us for conference competition and grow together as a family,” Schoeck said. “The CCIW is usually a very strong conference and we are expecting to do very well after being seeded as the No. 3 team for the tournament.”

Men’s and women’s tennis coach Jon Miedema thinks the men’s team has a strong chance to perform well in the tournament.

“The men’s is set up that we play our conference schedule in the spring to determine seating for this tournament. The winner of this tournament wins conference and gets the automatic bid for the NCAA tournament,” said Miedema. “We go in as a three seed for that tournament. We definitely have a chance, we just have to be playing well for that weekend.”

The team has had their fair share of injuries and are doing their best to cover for those losses.

“We have an injury to our number one player, and we’ve had that for about week and  a half, so that’s changed our lineup pretty significantly,” Miedema said.  “But just like any sport, injuries are part of it, and we’ve had other people that have had to step up that are fully capable of doing so.  That’s definitely the goal, getting everyone 100 percent or as close as that as possible, so we have the best shot that we can.”

Even though the men’s side has great leadership skills, there is a big difference in this team’s youth compared to last year’s, which could prove to be challenging for the weeks ahead.

“On the men’s side we also have tremendous leadership,” Miedema said. “We have a group of guys that lost in the conference championship last year. A lot of those veteran players have been through that as well. I guess this year is different in the fact that four of the top six are also freshmen and sophomores. So while they’ve been through this a little bit and learned from that veteran leadership, they’re also young and have had their ups and downs with it.”

Schoeck has high expectations for himself and the team in the upcoming tournament.

“Two of our sophomores, Sam Totten and Eric Pohl, have played really strong tennis at the top of our lineup, and I know they will continue that during the conference tournament,” Schoeck said.