The Kansas weather finally allowed the Fort Hays Sate University Tennis team to play their first home match and second overall match of the spring season. The weather, however, has not allowed them to open up conference play just yet.
The Tigers were scheduled to face their first conference opponent on March 11 against Washburn University. The game was rescheduled for April 17, and it appeared the Tigers would make both their conference and home opener on March 20 against Truman University. However, that match-up was rescheduled as well.
Although they weren’t a conference opponent, the Tigers did finally make their home debut against Kansas Wesleyan University on Tuesday.
The match-up resulted in a 6-3 loss, putting the Tigers’ spring record at 1-1, and their overall record to 4-3.
“It’s disappointing,” Coach Brian Flax said. “We competed hard, but really just had too many mistakes at bad times.”
The day started out promising, with FHSU taking two of the three doubles matches. Sophomore Kelsey Bigando and freshman Melissa Skovira won the first match 8-5, followed by another 8-1 win from freshman Brianna Watkins and sophomore Kayla Jarvis. Freshman Laura Johnson and sophomore Brittany Shea started off with a 6-1 lead before losing 8-6.
“I was really worried going in,” Flax said. “We haven’t had a match for two weeks and not a lot of practice time.”
Due to the weather, the young team consisting of four freshman and five sophomores hadn’t played since their March 6 win over Hastings College.
Rust might have been a factor as KWU dominated the singles matches. FHSU won just one singles match, thanks to sophomore Valerie Harris.
The rotation is still up in the air, since the starting spots have not been completely filled.
“We’re waiting for someone to step forward and take control of some spots,” Flax said.
FHSU will open conference play this weekend in a three-game road swing. They will play at Missouri Western in St. Joseph, Mo., and Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Mo., each on Friday before heading to the University of Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday.
“It might be a good thing to get away from here and spend more time together,” Flax said. “We’re lacking a little bit of mental toughness. If we can get a little more fired up, things would work out for us a little bit more.”