Lakers take the show on the road
Team makes three stops in three days during 880-mile road trip through the Midwest
On a map, Grand Valley State University and Lake Erie College are about 350 miles apart, but when it comes to tennis, the Lakers are on another planet.
On a recent road trip, the Lakers kicked things off by annihilating GLIAC conference newcomer Lake Erie on Friday in a 9-0. The Storm only recorded six points on the Lakers in both singles and doubles matches combined.
There was little rest, however, for the Lakers, who got back on the road after Friday’s win and traveled three hours south to Old Dominican University. The team faced more stiff competition against the Panthers on Saturday but still took home a 6-3 victory with both senior Philipp Claus and freshman Andrew Darrell extending their personal win streaks. Claus has now recorded 11 straight victories while Darrell sits at 10. The two players are now a perfect 7-0 against GLIAC foes.
On Sunday, the Lakers served Wayne State University with its first GLIAC loss of the season in a 5-4 win.
GVSU head coach John Black said the team used its abilities in singles matches to take the win against Old Dominican University. He noted how last week’s 5-4 loss to Ferris State University came down to doubles matches, a facet of the game that the freshmen on the team are still getting used to.
“The biggest challenge for us right now is working on improving our doubles, because I do have so many young players that really haven’t played much doubles before,” Black said. “If we keep working at it, particularly in the off season, I think in another year or two we’ll have the doubles at the same level as our singles.”
Even the young players on the team are already used to a schedule that includes being on the road for a majority of the season and playing back-to-back games on weekends. Junior Josh Kazdan said being on the road is actually a positive.
“It always makes you play better because you do so much traveling, so your anticipation the whole time you’re in the van is just kind of thinking, ‘Alright, I’m getting ready for this match,’” Kazdan said. “If you’re going to travel that much, you might as well win.”
Claus said the team got a chance to practice new techniques and tactics against Lake Erie, and the victories have left it feeling very confident in its abilities as the season finishes with the GLIAC tournament on the horizon.
“We’ve been improving in the last two weeks,” he said. “I think everybody knows if we play well in the conference tournament, we can definitely make it to the final and then qualify for nationals.”
The team will next compete when it travels to Northwood University on Wednesday to play against what could be its toughest conference opponent as the Timberwolves sit atop the GLIAC at 6-0.