Tennis team lacks experience, not the will to win

By Albert Shelby

March 17, 2012

Missouri Western Tennis team has started out the season with a solid 3-3 record. This is a big improvement from last year, considering the fact the team only won three games total, with two of the three wins coming from conference-opponent Lincoln. This year's squad is fairly young, with the majority of the team being freshman and sophomores. Head coach Ron Selkirk feels that a lot of the girls this year are still getting used to playing in on a higher level than normal because of how young they are. "I think most of these young girls have not played on the level of Division II college tennis," Selkirk said. "Most of them are learning that it is truly a more stronger and consistent game than what they have found in their high school careers." Selkirk stated that he noticed the team was a lot better than he expected at the beginning of the season. The team has won some important close games, and as the competition gets tougher, he is starting to see constant growth from the girls. This year's team has not backed down from any of the teams that they have faced this season. Selkirk feels that even with the better teams that they have played, his team is putting in a strong effort each time they suit up to play. "I do think that they have been overwhelmed sometimes by some of the stronger teams that we have came across," Selkirk said. "But I also feel that when they walk off the court, they feel like they could have done better. Before you can be competitive in a situation, you have to go out and make it a close game to begin with." Selkirk also stated that as the girls grow and gain more experience, the more the team will develop into a strong contender. Experience seems to be what the team is lacking, but the will to win has been shown by all the girls including the freshman. The team has a lot of players that have stepped up to the challenge, and have shown that they will continue to get better. Alecia Jenkins is the only senior on the team, but has played very well and has continued to show good leadership toward the team in her first year on varsity. Sophomore Katie Fields has also had a fairly strong season thus far, and Selkirk hopes that her play will continue as the season progresses. The mental part of the game is something that Selkirk said he has continued to teach to his players. Being able to compete and hustle for an entire match -- no matter the score -- is what he wants his girls to learn and show when they step on the court.