MEQUON, Wis. – Some might consider this season a rebuilding year for Concordia University Wisconsin's women's tennis team, but those in and around the program are thinking otherwise. A talented group of returners and a slew of freshmen are working hard during training camp to win a conference title.
Deep and dynamic are two words that describe the 2013-14 team, which has lost just seven conference matches over the past seven years. However, the Falcons are looking to replace their top three singles players and half of their doubles pairings.
"This year is a different situation," head coach Steven Anschutz. "Last year we had three seniors and they each had different games compared to what I have this season. Last year we weren't very deep, but that isn't the case right now. I consider it a rebuilding year in doubles, but we will more dominant in singles play because of our depth."
With 11 players competing each day, one would think forming a lineup could be difficult – and it will be – but Anschutz now has the luxury of moving players around who are on a hot streak. In the past, he had just enough student-athletes to fill the six positions, but not this year.
"Having a deeper roster offers more competition each day in practice," Anschutz added. "Last year we had only eight on the roster and at times six because of injuries. Because of our roster size each player wasn't pushed to get better. This year if someone wants to earn a spot in the lineup she is going to have to be competing at a high level all the time."
Nearly every spot in the lineup is up for grabs, but the doubles pairings are vitally important because they are the first three points available in a match. Anschutz is going to let the try-out matches determine his singles lineup, but he has a lot of dynamic playmakers on the roster.
"I have one player who is super athletic but she has poor technique, and on the other hand, I have a player who has excellent technique but isn't as athletic," Anschutz stated. "Those two are going head-to-head in practice and are in really close matches because of their different styles. We have a lot of different dynamics in terms of style of play."
There are just 10 days until the first matches of the season and a lot will be decided from now until Aug. 31 on the court.