Men’s tennis headed for warmer weather over the weekend as they headed down to Florida to begin their season. With three matches in two days against some hefty competition, these first matches served as a good challenge to start the season strong.
Their first match came Saturday morning against Florida A&M, a team that has already started their season, and last year made an appearance in the NCAA tournament where they fell to the Georgia Bulldogs in the first round.
Later that same day, the Bucs faced off against the No. 20 ranked Florida State Seminoles.
The Bucs came out on top with a 4-0 win against A&M, but fell 4-1 against Florida State.
After some rest, the Bucs were back at it again Sunday against Florida Gulf Coast.
“It’s our first weekend so we expect some good fighting and effort from the players,” said Head Coach Martin Stiegwardt. “FSU will be a huge challenge, they not only host the tournament but they are also ranked Top 20 and might be better than that.”
ETSU has a lot to live up to from last season. They concluded their season with a SoCon title, and an appearance in the NCAA tournament. However, the Bucs look to have a promising future.
With one senior on the roster, Robert Herrera (Barcelona, Spain) who went undefeated in conference play last year, ETSU has plenty of young talent to develop.
Also, ETSU received several transfers from other schools, so the leadership of Herrera, who has played three years at ETSU already, will be very important.
ETSU looks to continue its long standing streak of 11 conference championships with the hiring of Head Coach Stiegwardt. Stiegwardt has spent the past five years coaching Southeastern Conference schools to the NCAA tournament.
However, the work toward conference championships begins as the season does.
“I think we are prepared and we will make sure we give ourselves the best chance to get a couple wins this weekend,” said Steigwardt.