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Serving, swimming and sickness

Serving, swimming and sickness

By Anders Rotto  |  Sports Editor

Wheaton men’s tennis player runs to return a ball. Photo courtesy Chris Jones.

Welcoming the warm weather with open-arms, the men and women’s tennis teams traveled to Orlando, Fla. and Delray Beach, Fla. for their spring break trips this year.

A year ago, both teams experienced successful spring seasons as the men finished as the third-best team in the CCIW and the women were named as the conference’s second-best team.

A CCIW championship, and thus an automatic bid to the DIII tennis national tournament, alluded both teams. With this motivation in the back of both teams’ minds, this spring break trip was the first step to on the journey to the 2016 CCIW Championship.

For the men, the trip was undoubtedly one of relaxation and bonding, as well as some fine tuning for the upcoming season. The team went 3-2 in their games during the trip and began to shake off some of the rust from the winter.

The highlights of the trip included “team talks about important things” in the hotel’s hot tub, a visit to the beach, a team miniature golf competition — won by head coach Brad Pihl and junior Justin Anacona — and a day trip to Hollywood Studios. The team also capitalized on an opportunity to get to know their tennis counterparts.

“It was nice to finally be able to hang out with the girls’ team,” explained junior Matt Steiner. “Every year we try to hang out with them and so it was fun that this year it actually happened.”

The women’s tennis team enjoys time at the beach. Photo courtesy Anna-Katherine Barrett.

The trip for the women’s team did not quite roll so smoothly, however. Within the first couple days of the team’s arrival, four players contracted a stomach virus. The players were quarantined, but the damage had been done as two of the team’s matches had to be cancelled due to lack of numbers.

“It was kind of nice because we were able to spend an extra day on the beach, but we were all worried about who might get sick next,” said junior Anna-Katherine Barrett.

The lone bright spot for the team was a 9-0 domination over Messiah College in the team’s only match of the trip. By the end of the trip, the proverbial cloud of illness finally lifted as the sick players recovered from their illness in time for a trip to downtown Disney World.

As both teams arrived back on Wheaton’s campus, the players from each team were much closer due to restful conversation for the men and the experience of overcoming illness for the women. Regardless, both teams will lean on these experiences for chemistry as their spring seasons begin.

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