New season means new goals for IU men's tennis
After a 2015-16 season that saw the Hoosiers finish with an 11-15 record, IU senior Matthew McCoy said it is time for the program to reach new heights.
In order to do so, McCoy said it is essential for the squad to be confident when playing important matches to help them reach their goal of making the NCAA Tournament.
“We have not made it into the NCAA Tournament in five years or so,” McCoy said. “That is our main goal — making it. To do that, we need to be a couple of really good teams and we need to beat the people we need to beat.”
To help the team better prepare for their most important matches, IU coach Jeremy Wurtzman has altered team practices compared to last year.
McCoy said instead of having standard practices every day this spring semester, the team will have different types of practice depending on the opponents for the week.
“We are going to really plan our practice based on who we are going to play,” McCoy said. “We are really going to research and understand the people we are playing, so I think there is a lot more preparation around specific opponents this year than I saw last year.”
Among the 11-man team that will work with Wurtzman’s new training methods are four freshmen. Payam Ahmadi, Zac Brodney, Bennett Crane and William Piekarsky are the new faces on the team ready to begin their first season as Hoosiers.
McCoy said the freshman are prepared for college play because their experience as top junior players has ensured they are ready for collegiate level competition. He added that with enough hard work, the freshmen could perform just as well as the upperclassmen.
Piekarsky is a Bloomington native and has known what it means to be part of the Hoosier community since he was very young. As a child, he even took tennis lessons at IU.
“Will has always wanted to be a tennis player, he was always watching IU matches on the weekends,” McCoy said. “He brings a lot of energy because he knows how much it means to the community. The Bloomington tennis community is getting bigger and it means a lot to him and his family.”
Returning sophomore Antonio Cembellin had a 19-11 overall record in his first year, and is now looking forward to not only match last year’s numbers but also surpass them.
“I had good wins last year and I have spoken to Coach Wurtzman about it,” Cembellin said. “He told me that if I keep working the way I did last fall and this fall this season will be better and I will be able to keep the level up.”
Although the Hoosiers will play their season opener on the road, they will have 15 home matches. Cembellin said he hopes to see a lot of IU supporters at the home matches because their influence in the game can be crucial.
“With more people you get more motivated, then you play for them and you win,” Cembellin said. “If you get positive energy from the outside of the court you will be more positive on the inside.”