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Tennis teams focus on the positive

April 3rd, 2010 Posted in Sports

By Caresa Alexander

LOGAN—The USU men’s and women’s tennis teams improved their record to 9-4 and 6-3, respectively, with wins over the College of Idaho on Saturday afternoon at the Sport Academy and Racquet Club.

Hailey Swenson, a junior from North Salt Lake, needed only 35 minutes to defeat C of I’s Kim Clements, 6-0, 6-1. She said the highlight of her game was when she hit two aces in a row.

“It was pretty good because I don’t get too many aces,” Swenson said. As a sophomore last year, Swenson finished the season at 13-11 and is ranked at the Aggie women’s No. 1 singles spot with an 8-1 record in singles and doubles competition.

The NCAA Division I Aggies made a clean sweep of all three matches against the C of I Coyotes, a NAIA-ranked school. But even against teams the Aggies should beat, Swenson said it is important to keep moving and not become lackadaisical.

“When you play teams like this it is so mental,” she said. “You know you should beat them but it is making sure you just do the things whereas when you play a better school it is not a guaranteed win and so you go out and fight hard.”

On the men’s side, junior Bryan Marchant from Salt Lake City won in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2, over C of I’s Max Nguyen. Marchant said he tried to focus on not doing too much and let his opponent make the errors. His record this season is 5-6 in singles and 7-5 in doubles.

Marchant called the win a “confidence builder” compared to some of the other matches, but he said it is important to have both levels of play.

“Sometimes you play tough matches and players can take away your strengths and expose your weaknesses,” Marchant said. “You kind of forget you’re getting better than you think you are. Then you play and you’re like, OK, I’ve been battle-tested, so to speak, and you are prepared.”

Marchant said, “We’ve got a lot of talented players, we’ve set a lot of goals and we are reaching for them. Sometimes in the past, guys go with the mentality that we are a decent team but you don’t really push yourself. We’ve all been pushing ourselves and working hard.”

That hard work seems to be paying off. Fernando Gallegos, assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s team, has seen improvement in both teams, and said he was impressed with the way the players handled Saturday’s win.

“We remain being a classy team,” Gallegos said. “That is something that we emphasize with the team. It is really easy, when you play somebody below you, to be rude, to be cocky, or to be disrespectful with your opponent and none of the guys did that and we were actually very proud.”

Gallegos played for USU before graduating last May with a degree in public relations. He is in his second year as an assistant coach, with recruiting as one of his main responsibilities. Gallegos said recruiting is one of the most important things when trying to build and improve a program. He has seen great results and expects the team to continue to progress.

“We are getting some good wins against teams that in the past we have struggled a little,” Gallegos said. “Just overall, the record that we have is pretty good so far. It is the best we have had in a while. The team, I think, is very strong and ready to compete.”

“We have really good guys this year,” he said, “and that is something we focus on during the recruiting process. We don’t only want to bring good tennis players, we want to bring good students and at the same time good people.”


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