Wrangling with hot, Southern weather, the men’s and women’s tennis teams traveled to Florida and competed in non-conference matches during spring break March 12-19.
The Franciscan teams, along with 100 other teams from across the nation, headed to the United States Tennis Association National Campus training center in Orlando. The men came away from the week’s matches 2-2 while the women were 3-1.
Each team had five games scheduled, all against the same five schools, but they only played four each because of rain cancelations with Translyvania University.
Head coach Scott Greve said of the men’s performance: “Although we still have much to work on, our lineup is solidifying, and the guys improved with each match.”
The Barons’ week led off with a match with the University of St. Francis in Indiana March 14. Though the match was highly contested, the Barons pulled through for a 5-4 win.
The day’s next game, against Hamline University, saw the Barons finding their stride and winning 7-2. Overall, March 14 was a day of wins for the Barons.
The next two matches were not so grand for the Barons. They took a 6-3 loss to Springfield College March 16 and a 7-2 loss against the University of Wisconsin-Superior March 18.
Freshman Travis Mistry said, “The past week was a blast. … We started the week off strong by making history by winning all our matches on the first day. We also grew a lot closer — both the guys’ team and the girls’ team — over the span of the week.
“The next two matches we played didn’t go our way, but we learned exactly what we need to work on and are in a great place to start PAC (Presidents’ Athletic Conference) matches.”
Greve said, “The Lady Barons competed well. They battled some injury and heat exhaustion along the way but came away from the trip with a 3-1 record.”
Spirits were high for the Lady Barons, particularly due to their first match — a 9-0 shutout win over the University of Saint Francis. Up next was a closer 5-4 win over Hamline.
Springfield gave the Lady Barons their only loss, 7-1; however, they bounced back the next day and snagged a 8-1 victory over Wisconsin-Superior.
“(The Lady Barons’) lone loss to Springfield College from Massachusetts was contested,” Greve said, “and we definitely took away many positives from that match.”
Overall, Greve said the week was, “a great opportunity for us to play teams we would never have the opportunity to compete against as well as (to) bring our love of Jesus to our competitors.’
While in Orlando, the teams attended Mass daily and had the rare opportunity to attend Mass three times at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe.
The matches did not count toward the men’s conference record, but they provided an opportunity for the men to prepare, said Greve.
Furthermore, Greve said, the matches acted as warm-ups for the Lady Barons, who will be entering the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament this month.
Conference matches for the men will begin with a home match Wednesday, March 23, at 3 p.m. against Washington and Jefferson College.