Western tennis will kick off the spring season in Red Oak, Iowa as they take on the Graceland University Yellowjackets.

Western went 1-0 in the fall in non-tournament matches, with a narrow 5-4 victory over William Jewell.

Head coach Shawn Becker says the team’s goals are set much higher for this spring.

“Coming off the fall, I’m going to go back to our ITAs, and that’s been the motivating factor for us,” Becker said. “We didn’t play well. We know that’s not what we want Missouri Western tennis to look like.”

However, Becker has made some adjustments to the squad, including some changes to the teams and a more aggressive approach to the season. He is hoping for good results this weekend.

“We have new teams, new positions,” Becker said. “It’ll be nice to see how that’s actually going to pan out.”

Graceland is coming off of a rockier finish to their fall season. They wrapped up at 1-1 in non-tournament matches. They cleaned up a nice 5-3 victory over Grand View University, but were swept a couple weeks later 0-7 by Emporia State.

This year’s squad is stacked with veterans, including four seniors. Lindsay Beger feels confident going into this weekend’s match.

“Wrapping up the season with ITAs and that win over William Jewell gave all of us the belief that we’re still the same strong team we all grew to be last year and we didn’t go anywhere,” Beger said. “With practicing hard everyday and the season starting up Friday, we hope to continue where we left off in the fall against Jewell.”

Denise Chiao is hopeful for a strong showing from the entire team.

“I hope that we can start our spring season strong,” Chiao said. “The past matches have only made us stronger for this season and I hope we can all go out there and play hard.”

As for goals this season, Beger wants to be more positive when she’s on the court. As for the team, she says they have their own set of goals that they’d like to accomplish.

“When last season ended, we had goal cards set for this season that we would carry with us or clip on our bags; those three goals we hope to meet,” Beger said. “The two top priority goals we have set are finishing top 3 in the MIAA and qualifying for regionals.”

Griffon tennis will travel up to Iowa this Friday, February 5 to take on Graceland. The match is set to begin at 3 p.m.

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