Men's tennis finishes fall season with 1-2 mark
Considering the losses they've had, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions men's tennis team could be content - even giddy - about finishing fall play with a 1-1 conference mark and a 1-2 record overall.
Gone is Ronnie Stutz and his ferocious serve-and-volley game. Gone is Eric Gladding, who played best when it counted most. Gone is gutty Tim Hurlbert, who played four seasons out of the Nos. 1 and 2 singles spots for CU-Colorado Springs. Despite all this, Hays isn't willing to write off the 2003-04 season as a rebuilding year. He thinks the Mountain Lions are capable of making some noise in the tough Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference this year.
"We're young. We're inexperienced," admitted Hays. "We have some good talent, but we've lost some depth. We're struggling and we need to achieve some team leadership.
To get that leadership, Hays hopes he has to look no farther that juniors Travis Sellentin and Jason Bisanti and sophomore Jason Schultz.
"We need some team leadership from the juniors who are coming back," said Hays. "They kind of need to take the bull by the horns a and get everybody going and working a little bit harder in practice."
Schultz and Bisanti did their part on the court, each posting a 2-1 mark in singles play. Sellentin, who was inserted into the No. 1 spot vacated by Stutz, went 0-2 in singles play.
One newcomer who could be pivotal for the Mountain Lions is Eric Rivera, who went 1-1 at the No. 2 spot and 0-1 at No. 1. He also teamed with Bisanti to go 2-1 in doubles. That Rivera was inserted that high in the lineup shows that Hays has great confidence in his game.
"(Rivera is) an excellent player," said Hays. "He's got not college (playing) background whatsoever. But he's played extensively in city and state tournaments and has done very well. He's very aggressive and works very hard but he lacks college experience."
Another key player will be junior Adam Stratton, who saw sporadic action last season but will likely be counted upon to produce big this year.
"(Strattonâ€TMs) play was very sporadic in the fall," said Hays. "He played two good matches and he had one bad one. He's got a lot of enthusiasm and he helps out in that respect, but he needs to develop some consistency in his game. If he can overcome a couple of technical difficulties and he should be much better off."
The Mountain Lions defeated Colorado Christian 7-2 on Sept. 18, then lost 7-2 to Mesa State on Sept. 27 and 6-3 to Northern Colorado on Oct. 10. Hays hopes his players will spend as much time as possible on the court before the spring season starts.
"We'll do a little bit of conditioning in the gym but I'm more interested that they hit tennis balls," said Hays. "They're in good condition, but they need to become better tennis players."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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|April 23, 2004||Sellentin named second-team All-RMAC||University of Colorado at Colorado Springs junior Travis Sellentin was named second-team All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference at No. 4 singles, the conference announced Friday.|
|April 20, 2004||Men's tennis ends regular season with 5-4 loss||So close yet again.|
|April 19, 2004||Singles sweep leads men's tennis to win||All six players won their singles matches as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's tennis team defeated the Colorado Christian Cougars 8-1 Monday at the Broadmoor.|
|April 12, 2004||Doubles trouble for Mountain Lions||The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's tennis team continued to experience doubles trouble in its 6-3 loss to the Colorado College Tigers Monday at the Garden of the Gods Club.|
|April 4, 2004||Men's tennis falls to Mines again||Same result. Different day|