Norwich tennis team thinks positive
The Norwich University men's tennis team embarked upon its 2009-10 season when it hosted in-state rival Castleton State College at Shapiro Field House on March 10. The team is hoping to improve on last season's overall record of 6-6 and a conference record of 2-2.
Collin Hyte, a 19-year-old sophomore communications major from Marblehead, Mass., said, "We have a chance to be really good this season, and we want to surprise the entire university."
Team members are anxious to prove themselves, while being glad to have the chance to play.
"It's my first year here but I am very excited about playing in college. It is very challenging and I love everything about it," said Logan O'Neil, 18, a freshman psychology major from Friendswood, Texas.
Everyone on the team is excited about the chance of winning again. We are setting our goals high this season," Hyte said.
Last year the Norwich tennis program was in danger of being cut from the budget. According to Norwichathletics.com, the program was eliminated in December 2008 due to "budgetary constraints." However, due to an outpouring of support from alumni and friends, Norwich announced in October 2009 that the tennis team would not be cut from the varsity program.
"I was really hoping they would reinstate tennis for my senior year and now that they have, it makes me want to raise my skill level to an entirely different level," said Chris Pashley, 21, a senior computer security amd information assurance major from Torrington, Conn.
After being so close to getting cut from the Norwich University athletic lineup, that thought is never far from the players' minds. It has pushed them to play harder and they are grateful for every opportunity to play.
"We want to improve with every set of every match. We want to do better than last year so they will keep our program around," Hyte said.
"I love putting on the Norwich uniform: it means so much to me. Coming out of high school (to) play four years of college tennis was one of my major goals," Pashley said.
Alex Holst, a 19-year-old freshman engineering management major from Goshen, N.Y., is glad Norwich still has a tennis team. "If tennis was not reinstated I don't know if I would be here right now," he said.
This season the Cadets have an overall record of 4-2 with a 0-2 record in GNAC play. Norwich will host the next three games before the team closes its final two of the season on the road.
"We just want to improve in every aspect of the game; singles and doubles play, we just want to get better," O'Neil said.
"Right now we are a better team than last year, but we have to prove it on the tennis court. We have to make our hard work pay off," Holst said.
Norwich tennis won 6-3 in its season opener against Castleton, but later lost two Conference games to Emerson and Johnson & Wales (RI).
"All of the progress we have made since last year, you can really notice it. We lost a great senior, but we are getting better," Hyte said.
"We are glad to get our first win under our belts, and we are ready for all the competition that comes our way," said Dennis Ortiz, 18, a freshman engineering major from Union City, N.J.
"We know the competition in the GNAC is pretty tough but we are focused and ready for it all. We have worked (during) off season in preparation," said Alex Gordon, 19, a freshman studies of war and peace major from Carthage, N.Y.
"Our off season workouts were tougher than past years, but we have something to prove to the university and to ourselves," Pashley said.
The Cadets will continue to push themselves and each other during practice and at every match.
"We have a lot to prove, everyone knows that. We have a huge chip on our shoulder, and we just want to win," Hyte said.
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