From struggle to success: Augustana men’s tennis finds winning formula

Bibhu Lamichhane

The men’s tennis team is looking strong as they head into their conference competition. With a current record of 10-5, the team had a month-long win streak earlier in the season and is looking to get back on track after a few recent losses. 

Gabriel Luna, a sophomore on the team, found the team struggled early on as they worked to figure out their lineup. But, once they got that sorted out, they gained confidence and began to win more matches. The team also recently dealt with a coaching staff switch, which took some time to adjust to.

“We also got a new coach last season, so he is finally settled in as well so I think that helped us,” Luna said.

The team’s success can also be attributed to their unity, despite coming from diverse backgrounds. 

“Most of the team is international, we only have three Americans. So everybody has a different background, so we all are able to connect because of the differences,” Luna said.

Their biggest matches this season have been against North Central and Coe College, both of which were close victories for Augustana. 

One of the reasons the team has been doing so well is due to the amount of teamwork that goes on while on the courts.

“Tennis is a mental sport as well but support from your team is really important because you would be playing your match, but you’ll also see the scores of the other matches so you kind of get stressed sometimes if the other players aren’t doing too well because that means the pressure is on you,” Luna said. “It’s also very important that even if you lost your match you need to get over the disappointment and go support your team members.”

The team has had two student-athletes of the week in the conference this season: sophomores Luna and Arthur Hermange, they won the title when they clinched the victory against Coe college and North Central respectively with the score of 5-4. As they head into the playoffs, Luna hopes to make it onto one of the all-conference teams by the end of the season.

“Our goal is to at least reach the semifinals of the conference tournament,” Luna said. “This time there are five teams that are pretty competitive: North Central, Wheaton, Carthage, Milikin and ourselves. Our goal will always be to win the conference but if not at least reach the semifinals. North Central won the conference last year so they are the strongest candidates but we won against them so we are pretty confident this season.”

With any sport, there are many things that athletes should be doing in order to stay motivated and maintain performance. For Luna, focusing on things outside the court helps him keep his A game.

“I take care of myself outside of practice with how I eat and how I sleep. Also, I want to keep doing good in school. Everything has been A’s so it’s important to maintain it,” Luna said. 

As a student-athlete, Luna has gotten used to finding the balance between school and sports and knows how to prioritize what’s important.

Overall, the Augustana men’s tennis team is looking like a strong contender as they head into their conference competition. With their diverse backgrounds and strong teamwork, they’ve been able to overcome early-season struggles and maintain a winning record.

“We’ve always been a pretty competitive team,” Luna said. 

They’re ready to show that in the conference.


Gabriel Luna previously worked for the Observer.