Tennis serves up a plan for season
The tennis team plans to let go of last year's semifinal loss to Emerson College and rebuild for this upcoming season.
"We have never made it past the semifinals since I have been on the team, it would be great if we could find a way to win our conference this year, anything is possible," said Colin Hyte, 21, a senior communications major from Marblehead, Mass.
The bitterness of last year's loss still remains in the minds of the returning players.
Adding two new players to its roster, the tennis team is aiming to win the GNAC playoffs for this upcoming season, with the leadership from its senior class.
"It certainly is different being a senior, everything you do seems to have more meaning and purpose," Hyte said. "Obviously you want to do well your last year, but you also want to have fun."
This year's team is composed of just nine players, which makes it the smallest roster for men's sports at Norwich.
"Four out of our nine players are seniors, so that adds lots of depth to our lineup. We have been relatively a young team over the years, so this year should be different." Hyte said.
"I'm always stressing to the guys on the team that winning is huge; you want to leave everything out on the court. You're not just playing for yourself, you're playing for the other guys on your team," said Joseph Dvorak, 20, a sophomore majoring in studies in war and peace from De Soto, Kan.
"Even if you win all your matches it doesn't mean your team is going to win, that's the most frustrating part. It really depends on how well everyone does, so it makes you work that much harder," Dvorak said.
In tennis you have to have great hand-eye coordination and be able to react quickly when your opponent hits the ball back toward you, according to Dvorak.
"It helps to be fast out on the court. Endurance is key when you're in a close match with another player. We try to focus more on strength and conditioning, opposed to weight gaining," said Ryan Grindle, a freshman electrical and computer engineering major from Essex Junction, Vt.
Each regular season match consists of both individual and doubles matches. A point is awarded to the winning team after each game. The winner is decided by which team has more points awarded.
"Most players play both singles and double matches, I would rather play a singles match because it feels more rewarding when you win in end, but I enjoy both," said Christian Hoskey, 19, a sophomore political science major from Saint Charles, Ill.
"We have been doing a lot more conditioning this year, really trying to work on our form. Each game is crucial to the team's success; we just try and concentrate by getting the ball back over the net," Hoskey said.
"We got two new players this year, we haven't played any games yet, but we expect both players to do well, we need everyone playing good every game. Even if you win all your matches, it still doesn't mean your team is going to win," Grindle noted.
The first match of the season is against local Vermont rival Castleton State, a contest that Grindle is looking forward too.
"We have had a lot of practices so far this year so it will be nice to finally play a game. I think we're ready, playing a school that is close from my hometown gives my family and friends a chance to come out and watch," Grindle said.
It's unlikely that Norwich will receive a national bid to the NCAA quarterfinals, since the university is in a conference comprising just six teams.
"The GNAC is one of the smallest conferences in the country so we probably won't get a bid, even if win. So the end of the road for us is probably the GNAC finals," Dvorak said.
The team will be relying on big performances from Colin Hyte and Ryan Grindle this season as it tries to achieve a championship. Hyte was awarded the GNAC player of the year title his sophomore year and Grindle was runner-up for rookie of the year.
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