Written by Student Assistant McKenna Morin
TACOMA, Wash. - After a successful fall season and intense winter training, the Pacific Lutheran University women's tennis team is hitting the court running, opening Northwest Conference play over the weekend against Whitman College and Linfield College inside the Sprinker Recreation Center. The Lutes open the spring on Saturday against Whitman with matches beginning at 1 p.m. before facing Linfield the next day at 10:30 a.m.
Whether it was lifting in the gym, individual hitting with other teammates or attending public clinics, the team didn't take a winter break like most PLU students.
PLU senior Emily Bower was one of the players that didn't let the off season stop her. Through informal workouts and training, she made sure she and her team would be ready for spring season.
"I think that our off-season training was very successful," Bower said. "Everyone on the team worked hard to stay in shape for our up-coming tennis season."
Part of being ready for spring is reflecting and learning from the previous fall season. With five new first-years joining the team, the women spent time focusing on incorporating the new talent and making sure they all worked well together as a team. One of their main goals for the fall season was to prepare for spring by building good team relations.
"I think, as a team, we definitely achieved this goal. We are very close and are aware of each other's strengths and weakness, on and off the court."
One of the ways the team focused on bonding and teambuilding was volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. "One of my favorite things that we do as a team, outside of practice, is when we volunteer with Habitat for Humanity," Bower said. "It is a great experience and so much fun to learn different elements of the construction process and be able to actually do them yourself." Not only is the team focused on excellence on the court, but they focus on giving back and building an excellent community around them.
With their first competition of the season coming up Feb. 18 against Whitman, the team hopes to continue using the team building skills to help them succeed. Along with team building, the women want to improve skills and performance.
"We are also striving to improve our tennis skills and match performance to be successful on the court," Bower said.
Improving performance is important with most of their competitions occurring on back-to-back days. Through preparation and continuing team building, the women's tennis team will put their fall and winter training to the test this spring in hopes of making it to Northwest Conference Championships in April.