Heading into the spring portion of their season, there is no question that the Elmhurst College women’s tennis team hoped for a better outcome then they experienced in the fall. But after suffering a 0-9 loss to the University of Chicago on Feb. 5, it seems that they had picked right back up where they left off in October.
Here are the facts.
The ‘Jays are currently riding a four game losing streak. They posted a 1-5 record in conference and placed sixth out of seven at the CCIW Championship. Their combined singles record is 15-61, a winning percentage of .197. Their combined doubles record is 8-26, a winning percentage of .235. The highest individual winning percentage on the team is .333 for singles and .500 for doubles.
So, what is the issue?
Perhaps it is the fact that the tennis teams at EC have no facilities on campus to practice or host events. Yes, they have the Brune Tennis courts within walking distance of the campus along the railroad but how many people have actually attended a match there? Probably not a lot. Plus, if you have attended one, the oddly positioned courts makes it hard to watch all the games comfortably.
The poor layout also has an impact on the way head coach Anthony McPherson can talk to his players. For example, if McPherson needs to talk to his players on court three during a match he most likely has to battle through shrubs and pine trees to get to the fence closest to that court.
Here is an interesting point, of the five matches played at home this year, the ‘Jays have not won a single one.
Another factor might be McPherson’s ties with both the men’s and women’s teams. Think of all the responsibilities that come along with being the head coach of a team: organizing practice, team meetings, scheduling games, etc. Now multiply that by two. This is not to give McPherson an excuse because as head coach he is accountable for the performance of both of these teams but there is no doubt that he is spread thin. Wheaton has two separate coaches for men and women and won the conference title with a 6-0 record. North Central has two separate coaches for men and women and finished with a 8-4 overall record. So why doesn’t EC have two separate coaches?
Yet, it might just boil down to the fact that the women’s tennis team is just not a strong team. Five out of the eight members are underclassmen, making them a young and inexperienced group. It also does not help that the three upperclassmen have a combined singles record of 2-22. Who is there to for the younger players to look up to?
It will be interesting to see if the spring trip to Orlando shows any improvement the ‘Jays, since they did in fact have over a month to prepare. But from what we saw in their first match against the University of Chicago, time off does not help.