NSU tennis team starts off fall season stronger than ever
TNE Editor
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NSU tennis team starts off fall season stronger than ever

Published 9/5/17

Valeriia Efimenko

TNE Writer

Fall season for the tennis team is a preparation time for the most important time of the year – spring. The team started off at No. 16 position in the nation this year. In the beginning of last fall RiverHawk tennis reached No. 9 nationally, but after a couple of losses they shifted a few positions down.

“We took a loss to Saint Mary’s who was No. 10 in the nation,” said Jon Parker, NSU women’s tennis head coach. “I think the weather hurt us. Also, we played a double-header that day, so we played St. Mary’s the second half, and I think we were a little fatigued. Then, we took an unexpected loss from OBU, Oral Roberts University. I think those two losses hurt our ranking, but they are both good teams.”

In the fall, the women practice 20 hours a week, which includes four days of practice and two days off, and consists of physical fitness training, different meetings and tennis practices.

“We are a little more solid than we were last year at this time because last year it took a while for those girls to get used to me and my style of practices that I like to have,” said Parker. “This year there is a better chemistry. They already know the expectations. We have better team dynamics just because of coaching. Last year was a little bit up in the air.”

There are some changes in players this year. Parker recruited three new girls to the team: Tatjana Stoll, a transfer from Armstrong University, Mayra Jovic, a transfer from Santa Monica Community College, and Chanel Boydston, a freshman from Claremore.

“Our new players are very athletic and highly skilled,” said Parker. “They come with a lot of past success from the colleges that they transferred from, and they are not the typical rookie; they have a year or two of college experience. They fit the personalities of players that I usually look for, they fit the personalities of the team. Those kids are very coachable, laid back, energetic, fun loving, and what is most important - they love tennis. If they hate tennis, it is going to be miserable for them because we play a lot, we travel a lot and it is such a grind. I cannot wait to see them in action.”

The new members of the team come from different places with different backgrounds and tennis histories, but they already fit in and are assets for the team.

“The chemistry has gotten better each year,” said Easton Parker, Bixby senior. “New girls are very unique in their own way, and just because I am a senior does not mean I am better than them. I am just more experienced than they are. I have to make sure the girls feel welcomed, loved and important. Being for each other, having unity, being on the same page, laying down our selfishness, working hard every day and just keep moving forward encouraging one another, these are my goals as a senior.”

 The RiverHawks have just started the season, but they show promise on the court. They show hard work, dedication and tennis knowledge every practice, which confirms Parker’s decisions in the recruitment process.

“I’m very impressed with the new girls, and how the whole team looks like,” said Agata Skorupska-Smith, NSU women’s tennis volunteer assistant coach. “It has been a week of practices, and they already fit in very well. The girls just need to learn more RiverHawks’ tennis strategies. All the girls are great additions to our team and look great so far. We need to focus on development and conditioning, get physically and mentally stronger, stay healthy, take care of our bodies and then, in the spring, they will show that NSU girls still dominate.”

The coaches and the players already have set the goals for this season and the whole year. The expectations are high and the girls put forth 110 percent effort every day to develop their game and achieve higher national notch.

“Our major goal this year is to have a winning record, to win conference, to qualify for nationals and then just go from there,” said Parker. “We are going to start with the first invitational match against ORU in Tulsa on Sept. 14, then we are playing in Arkansas against UCO, University of Central Oklahoma, on Sept. 22, and ITA Regional Championship, Intercollegiate Tennis Association, on Sept. 29 and that is all for September. Also, we are doing fundraising events in Tulsa, which, hopefully, will help us to earn enough money to go to Florida for spring break and play against three strong teams.”

Fundraising will consist of playing doubles matches with amateurs for two to three hours at three different Tulsa tennis clubs in October. Parker is planning on giving a presentation with the tennis team about NSU’s needs and wants for the year. Also, the program tries to raise money with the signs that they usually put up on the tennis courts and cash donations.

For questions concerning the team or to aid in their fundraising efforts, email Coach Parker at parker44@nsuok.edu.


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