By Samantha Meyer
The men’s tennis team has seen some tough competition in the months of March and April. They’ve traveled to southern Ohio, Florida and Michigan to face some of the best teams in the nation.
The Vikings started out the month of March in Cincinnati, Ohio where they faced Xavier University and brought home a 4-3 win. The next week, the men traveled to Florida where a series of losses against the University of Miami, Barry University and Palm Beach Atlantic University took place.
On Saturday, March 24, the men kicked off conference play with a 6-1 win over Green Bay. The following week, the men beat fellow conference member, Youngstown State, in a 6-1 win.
Junior Ben Slade believes those wins were significant.
“Youngstown and Green Bay are both teams we lost to last year in regular season, and this year we won both 6-1,” Slade said. “I think those two wins showed us what we are capable of doing this season.”
The men continued conference play against Detroit Mercy on Saturday, April 7 where they lost to the Titans 4-3.
Over the next two weeks, the men played two home matches, beating Wright State, who had a 6-1 record and Northern Kentucky, who had a 7-0 record.
The season has gone well so far for the Vikings, though some difficulties did arise, according to Slade.
“One challenge we have faced this year is overcoming injuries as we have had our fair share,” Slade said. “Several of the guys have suffered injuries during this season, more than other years that I have been here. The guys have done a good job of stepping up when they are needed most.”
Slade, a junior from Brisbane, Australia, is one of two Vikings to go undefeated in conference play. He contributed a large amount to the team’s success and noted how driven everyone is to take home the conference title.
“This season, I’ve had one of the best since I’ve been here, and I think that is because of the culture of the team this year,” Slade said. “There are eight really talented guys that all want to work and perform at their best, and this pushes everyone to get better.”
The Horizon League Tournament will begin on April 27 in Indiana, where the Vikings will face off against other conference members for the league title.
As the tournament approaches, Slade believes there are some areas where he needs to focus on before the tournament.
“Something I need to work on is not checking out mentally for the last couple of weeks,” Slade said. “The season is long and physically and mentally draining, but this is the best part of the season.”