Eagles are ready to end the season with a bang

The Concordia Courier

Caption: CUI Men’s tennis team poses for team photo

By Jenna Hoffman | 4/8/2022

The tennis team plans to end their regular season with a bang in their last home game by defeating Fresno Pacific on senior day. 

The Eagles have gone through ups and downs throughout the season. They not only had to face the challenges of strong opponents such as APU and Hawaii Hilo, but they also had to face challenges from within the team.

Graduate student James Caddies said, “I think the team has competed very well under difficult circumstances. We had two or three players drop out towards the end of the fall semester which we did not expect, then [I lost eligibility] for a few weeks.” He added, “So under pretty difficult circumstances I have seen the team rise to the occasion and get some important wins.” 

Although the process of losing players did affect the Eagles initially, it strengthened them later on. “I think the entire season for coach and for us has been tough. Losing players and getting players… James getting injured and then James was ineligible. So it is tough on everyone, not only mentality but also physically. One of the good things this year is that we were supposed to have an amazing team and we had a lot less players and so many players got the opportunity to go out there and try their best without any pressure,” said senior Mike Jansen.

With seven players on the roster, the Eagles found themselves in an environment where they were able to shine. Jansen said, “Younes for example, he got in and the way he has been playing in the last couple of weeks and in matches especially, he is someone we can rely on and a lot of players started getting into the groove and started playing better tennis compared to the beginning of the year. I think everyone showed that they are strong enough to compete.”

Assistant Coach Gertjan de Wilder added, “The team is definitely stronger than it was last month because last month we had six players which is definitely not a big team. So having a player extra is definitely better and [James] is one of our line up players so it is good to have him back.”

With the regular season coming to an end, the team’s chemistry has been better than ever. “The one most important thing that helped our team overcome the challenges is our team chemistry. When you have a smaller team and you have such a good group like we have, it makes for a really exciting atmosphere every match because we all want to fight as hard as we can for each other. Everyone on the team is best friends so it makes for a great team chemistry, a great team atmosphere and that is what is helping us stay successful,” said Caddies.

With the conference tournament and regionals coming up, the Eagles feel good about their chances. “Everyone in the conference can beat everyone. All teams are as strong as each other. I think we can beat everyone, but we can also lose to these teams. We beat Biola once and they beat us once. We should have won against Hawaii Hilo, but they won a close one. The match against APU was also doable. So we will just go out there and battle and whatever happens happens,” said de Wilder.

On Sat., April 9 the tennis team will play their final match at home this season. This match will be special because it is the final home game in the career of captain and senior Jan Simon. 

“It is sad and exciting at the same time. It is a bittersweet. I had a great time here and I grew as a person and as a leader. Concordia gave me a great time and we grew as a team and so I am excited to finish the season strong. As a team in general we grew up so much and we have a great atmosphere playing and that is what makes me sad about leaving,” said Simon. 

Come support Simon on senior day in the last home game of his college career against Fresno Pacific. To keep up with the Eagles journey to the Conference and Regionals tournaments follow them on their Instagram page @cuitennis. 

Tags: Tennis, Men's Athletics, game

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