New faces, same expectations
February 8, 2013
“Experience is the teacher of all things,” Julius Caesar once said. Although Caesar wasn’t talking about the Scots’ 2013 men’s tennis team, he would see this year’s squad has been well taught.
“The top three guys in our lineup will end up being some of the most productive tennis players in the history of the school if not the most productive,” said head coach Chad Braun. “They are going to be juniors now and have a ton of experience for us.”
There has not been a Monmouth men’s tennis team to win its conference since 1938. Three of the last four years, the Scots squads have been runner ups. This year they look to bounce Grinnell out of the MWC throne after they have held it for nine consecutive years.
Number one ranking doubles partners David Johnson and David Stewart, both juniors, are coming off a sizzling season that was doused too soon. They drew the top seed at the Mid West Confrence tournament but were upset in the opening match.
In the 2011 season, the pair could look back on a 14 match win streak, which was a Monmouth College record. Last year, their record was written 15-8 as a tandem. In singles competition, both are former MWC champions, with Johnson at the number two spot in 2012 and Stewart at the number four spot in 2011, his freshmen year.
Stewart battled an injury, which caused him to be sidelined this past fall. Braun anticipates a healthy return to action.
“He played much of last season in a lot of pain, but he’s feeling much better this spring,” Braun said. “He can be scary when he’s healthy. Stewie has been improving every year and been a very productive singles player. He’s powerful with a big serve.”
Junior Chris Franco will continue to play number one singles, where he’s played for the past three years after taking a three year hiatus from the game.
“I have understood that being a smart player and doing the little things right is very important, instead of being that hard hitting flashy player I was freshman and sophomore year,” Franco said. “I do give a lot of the maturity to the past two years of experience and Coach Braun for guiding me down the right path to becoming a more useful player today and in the future.”
Taking the vacated number four spot will be Franco’s brother, freshmen Marco Franco.
“For us to get a chance to play together in college is a dream come true for my dad,” said Chris. “We hope we can put all the hard work, time, and dedication into this year playing doubles together.”
The hard work did pay off last Friday as the Franco brothers beat St. Ambrose 8-1 and the squad as a whole went undefeated in the day’s matches.
The Scots will travel this Saturday to take on University of Wisconsin- La Crosse and Coe College.