March 1, 2016
We are about half way through the spring semester, which means that the season started a couple of weeks ago for the Choctaws tennis team. The men’s and women’s team started the season in very different positions; the women’s team lost both of their first matches to Jackson State and Alcorn State while the men’s team defeated both of the Division 1 teams.
The ladies started winning their doubles matches against Jackson State, but in the singles matches, the D1 university overcame the deficit in the score and beat the Choctaws by the overall score of 2-5. On the other hand, the men’s beat the Tigers by the same score the ladies lost (5-2). Against the other D1 school, Alcorn, the scores were flipped once again. The men’s won the challenge with a score of 6-3, while the women’s lost by 3-6.
The next challenge came only to the men’s team, when they travelled to Arkansas to play three matches in two days. The Choctaws faced Harding University, No.17 Ouachita Baptist, and No. 28 Southwest Baptist respectively. Even though their competitors were a though match-up, the team’s biggest challenge to overcome was the injuries. The Choctaws had to play without three of their six starters, making already difficult matches even harder. Having to move their whole line up up by three positions, the players could not find a way to win their matches. Against Harding University, the Choctaws fell by 2-7, and against the other two schools, MC lost all of their matches.
The Graduate Assistant, David Mejia, said that the injuries played a decisive role in the Choctaw’s losses. “Without the injuries, the outcome could have been a lot different. We have a good enough team to play head-to-head against any college we may need to face. Not having half of the starters available to play was very unfortunate,” he said. Lúcio Menezes, who is one of the starters and did not even travelled with the team due to an injury in his hip, said that the whole team is working hard to overcome the injuries. “It is horrible to see your team falling like that because of injuries. You feel powerless and there is nothing you can do to help them. All the injuries are being treated in the best way possible and hopefully we will all be back in action at 100%,” he said.
Last Wednesday, when both the men’s and women’s team played at the Mississippi College Tennis Complex, the teams got their morale boosted as they both won their matches without losing a single one against their first Gulf South Conference (GSC) opponents, Christian Brothers University.
This weekend, it is the ladies’ turn to travel to Arkansas to face the Saints from Maryville University and Ouachita Baptist. The victory in the middle of last week against Christian Brothers boosted their confidence to take them into their next challenge. “After starting the season with two consecutive losses, beating Christian Brothers was really important for us. The team will go to Arkansas with more confidence and ready to fight for every point,” Brenna Keller, the team captain, said. Although the women’s team also had an injury problem with their No. 1 player, Sofia Carrera, who could not play against Christian Brothers and will be out of the weekend matches due to a shoulder injury.
While the ladies are in Arkansas for their match, the men’s team will be in action at home, playing Saturday against Loyola University and Sunday against Florida Southern, but they will still have some injuries to deal with. The expectation is to have the starter team complete again in March, when they play their second GSC match against West Alabama and start the preparation for the Spring Break tournament, in Orange Beach, Ala.
-Marcelo Maziero, Contributing Writer
this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 9 of The Mississippi Collegian