SPARTANBURG, S.C.- Youth is a main characteristic of this year’s Terrier tennis team. We will most likely start one senior, two or three sophomores and /or two or three freshmen. However, youth is not the only known quality. Other notable qualities include pride, enthusiasm and work ethic.
This year’s team showed a terrific fall work ethic. I can’t say that we have ever had a fall like this, where every guy on the team made significant progress. When I look back to where we were in September, I know that each player made vast improvements. We still have lots of room to grow, but we are definitely headed in the right direction.
Improved play from Captain Scott Collins has helped this team tremendously. Over the years, Scott has been a consistent performer, but this year Scott has stepped up and shown significant improvement between his junior and senior year. Scott really improved his fitness over the summer, and that paid dividends this fall. Scott’s fall record is in line with him being a top performer high in the lineup.
Another guy we are really excited about is freshman, Danny ”Man-child” Manlow. Danny is talented, hungry and loves to play. Danny gives 110% in everything he does, making everyone better. When no one is watching, he’s out there hitting serves or running hills…he’s 6”5”, fit, hungry and talented.
Another freshman with a strong work ethic is Stuart Robertson. Stuart is a competitive and talented individual that plays very well. Stuart is going to be a very good player in our league. We can’t wait to see him compete in the team atmosphere. Stuart is full of whit and makes everything fun and entertaining.
Sophomore, Paul Bartholomy is coming off a solid freshman year. Paul has improved technically and this has given him more confidence. Last year Paul was a good counter punching defensive player, but now he is strong offensively as well as defensively.
Sophomore, Michael Schecter competed his brains out this fall. Playing most of the fall with a pulled abdominal muscle, Michael won some really tough matches while serving underhand. Michael competed and eliminated all excuses. His attitude while competing injured, spoke volumes to our squad. Michael’s learning to win with an injury may have been one of the most significant moments for our team. He’s such an important part of this team and everyone is so impressed with how he handled adversity.
Sophomore Alan Donald also showed improved in many areas. Alan has learned to control the court from the baseline and has also become a more consistent and versatile vollier. Furthermore, Alan’s growth as a man is helping him to come into his own.
Freshman, Elliott Farmer is another player that has worked hard this fall. Elliott has gotten better because of his own initiative towards improvement. He did a lot of good work on his own to make himself better. One of the fastest guys on the squad, Elliott has the potential to be good player for us.
Ryan Byrne has also proven to be a tireless worker. Ryan just can’t get enough. He wants to do anything to make himself better. In fact, I believe every single aspect of his game has improved two fold in the last six months.
The team was extremely coachable during the last three months. They listened and bought into instruction. I honestly enjoyed every single day of fall practice. Furthermore, their level of fitness is probably as high if not higher than that of any team I have coached, which is a testimony to their level of pride and determination.
The combination of the above players and everything being in place to add another strong player in January, we are excited. However, we don’t spend energy thinking about wins or loses. Rather, our focus is on right now. The fall is typically a time of grueling work, but this fall felt more like fun than work. I attribute the fun to the attitude of trust that this team has established. This is a bunch of sincere hard working guys that have earned one another’s complete trust by consistently training with energy and enthusiasm.