With six seniors on the squad, the Idaho State men’s tennis team will look to use senior leadership to build off of its 10th place finish last season.
This season, the Bengals were picked to finish 8th in the conference by league officials after going 8-12 last season.
“We have more experience than the teams with only freshmen,” senior Quentin Wacquez said, a Lewis-Clark State College transfer. “This gives us a real advantage.”
First year head coach Mark Rodel noted Wacquez as one of the outstanding players on the team.
During his time at LCSC, Wacquez helped lead his team to a conference championship and posted an 18-4 singles record during the last season.
Although Wacquez doesn’t believe that he has proven himself as an outstanding member of the ISU team yet, his final season will provide an opportunity.
Rodel sees talent throughout the men’s tennis team, and this view is echoed by his players.
“Everyone plays their own role, and every position counts,” senior Bjorn Scheepbouwer said, a South Africa native.
The first hurdle players faced was the two-month-long break between preseason tournaments and the spring season matches. While ISU players weren’t practicing consistently, Wacquez commented that it was an opportunity to work on his focus.
“The con is not lots of practice,” Scheepbouwer said. “The pro is getting the hunger back.”
The ISU men’s tennis team has started this season 0-2, with losses to BYU and Utah. Despite this, Scheepbouwer and Wacquez see these matches as a good start to the season.
The team’s goal is to make it into the top six in the conference but there are many teams that pose a challenge.
Scheepbouwer believes the teams to beat are Eastern Washington, Northern Colorado, North Dakota, Southern Utah and Montana State. For the rest of the season, Rodel’s team will be focusing on the details of the game.
“If they work hard and follow the game plan and details, they will put themselves into a position where they can beat them,” Rodel said.
He also wants to change the team’s mindsets as in the past, ISU was viewed as the underdog in the collegiate tennis field, but Rodel wants players to understand that they can compete.
Rodel plans to eliminate the underdog view of ISU by making sure his players have a large amount of experience. While he will be losing six of his eight players at the end of the year, he has already started the recruiting process, which includes college transfers.
“This is a really great group of guys,” Rodel said. “I’d be proud to take them anywhere.”