Vikings tennis look to young talent this season

Chris Ferguson, Campus Carrier Asst. Sports Editor

As many Berry spring sports have gotten into the swing of their seasons, the tennis team opened their season last week against Mercer University. This matchup proved to be a tough one for the Vikings as the Bears are a NCAA Division I team. This gave the Vikings a good warm up to the season as they were able to face competition from a different level. 

Both men’s and women’s roster are composed of almost half a team of freshman. This means both teams will look to their younger talent to step up and compete this season. 

Senior Emmie Cornell has faith in the freshman class being able to compete this year and help the team obtain their goal of a conference championship.

“We lost some good seniors but we have added some talented, hard-working freshmen to the roster,” Cornell said. “I think they are excited to build the team back up and help us get to the conference playoffs.” 

Although the freshmen will look to have a large impact on the women’s team, it will bring a new aspect to the team dynamic that the returners will have to adapt to. 

“The girl’s team is pretty small this year and the addition of the freshman will add a new team dynamic this year,” Cornell said. “This has caused the leadership rules to be much different than I had originally thought.” 

Cornell looks to the coaching staff to be able to help the the team get to the conference tournament and her excitement about the new team dynamic matches theirs. The prospect of coaching such a young team will provide the coaching staff with a challenge and excitement.

“Coach Hightower is a super fun coach and I’ve really enjoyed playing for him,” Cornell said. “He is very encouraging towards the team overall, and especially the freshmen. He is very excited to be able to coach such a young team with such raw talent on both the men’s and women’s teams.” 

The men’s team also looks to compete in the conference playoffs, picking up where they left off last year in their loss against Rhodes college. Last year, Berry finished with a 10-8 overall record, as well as 2-5 in conference play. Sophomore Griffin Davis finished the year earning second-team All-Conference honors, placing in the No. 2 singles spot for Berry. Davis, along with the rest of the young team, will be led by senior captain Chase Gooding in what the team hopes will be a strong year for the Vikings.

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