Coming into the season with ten members, the Augustana men’s tennis team is looking to start their season off with a win against Wabash College and Lake Forest University on Saturday at Wabash.
One problem the Vikings may face is a smaller team. Junior captain Samuel Totten said their roster is only nine members strong this year, which is five members down from last year. For the first meet especially, they’ll be missing three of their seniors.
Totten said the team will do their best to overcome the loss.
“That’ll definitely be tough,” Totten said. “Both of those guys [Connor Woolf and Nick Prabhakar] would be contributors and starters in that line-up, but it’ll also give an opportunity for some youngers guys to step in and get some good match experience right off the bat.”
Head coach Jon Miedema said the two freshmen on the team have been preparing well.
“A couple of our younger guys, Scott Deluga, Gunther Treis, have been working really hard to get up to speed,” Miedema said. “That’s the biggest adjustment.”
Miedema also said the meet will be a test for the team as they will have to play Wabash and Lake Forest back-to-back. He also said the competition will be strong as Wabash will be bringing back most of their starters from last year.
The Wabash match will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the Lake Forest match will begin at 12:30 p.m
Last year at the Wabash meet, the Vikings defeated Wabash 5-4. They also played Monmouth College, instead of Lake Forest, and defeated Monmouth 8-1. The Vikings did play Lake Forest later last season and lost to 4-5.
Totten won the No. 1 singles last year in three sets: 6-3, 6-7, 10-5, but lost the No. 1 doubles with Eric Pohl in one set of 8-4.
Pohl was also defeated in the No. 2 singles in two sets.
As for the rest of the season, Totten emphasized the importance of a healthy team that’s ready to compete for every match they face.
“With such as small team, staying healthy is going to be such a big part of this season,” Totten said. “If you’ve got six guys that there and ready to play, that’s what you need and we’ve got nine [ready to play]. But we need to make sure this season that everyone stays accountable because there’s not as much margin for error.”