Season Preview: Goal for Men's Tennis is to repeat recent success
MEQUON, Wis. – If there is a word to describe Concordia University Wisconsin's men's tennis program, it would be successful. The Falcons have won 13 conference titles and earned three trips to the NCAA Tournament in just 14 seasons.
However, the 2013 season will pose new challenges with a difficult schedule, altered lineup and the pressure to repeat on last year's success.
"This is a brand new team," head coach Tom Weber said. "We are going to have players playing in different positions they aren't used to. Russell Johnson is entering the season as our No. 1 in singles, but Skip Turner will also push for that top spot."
CUW was set at No.1 singles for the past two seasons with Brian Tresedder – now an assistant coach – who was twice named Northern Athletics Conference Player of the Year. He will turn his attention to coaching Johnson and Turner transition into becoming the players to defeat and the pressure that comes along with it.
The Falcons have already played at the USTA/ITA Midwest Regional Championship and the Edgewood College Invitational in the fall. This spring they will host six home dual matches to prepare themselves for five spring break matches in Hilton Head, S.C.
The NAC portion of the schedule features five home dual matches, which begins on April 6 against Rockford College and Aurora University. CUW has won 18-consecutive league matches – 22 including the NAC Tournament – and was selected to win the NAC by the league's coaches for the sixth time in the conference's seven-year history.
"We are going to get beat up early this season," Weber said. "That is what top-flight non-conference competition will do to you. It gives you a heavy dose of reality and because of that we will be ready and stronger for conference play."
A deep roster, which includes six returnees from a season ago, will give Weber a multitude of combinations to work with this season. Johnson (junior, Monticello, Wis.), Turner (junior, Eau Claire, Wis.) and senior Taylor Shaffer (Stoughton, Wis.) were all named to the All-NAC Singles Team.
Despite a difficult schedule and a new lineup, the goal for the Falcons hasn't changed – to win a NAC title and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season.