With only two remaining regular season matches for the Azusa Pacific men’s tennis team and one for the women’s team, both are gearing up for the annual PacWest Tournament in Surprise, Ariz. held April 17-19.
Both the men and women will look to continue their success from the regular season into tournament play. The men, with a current record of 15-5, and the women, 16-5, will both likely play as the number-three seed based on their ITA national rankings, according to head coach Mark Bohren.
Bohren believes the strong competition each team has faced this season will benefit them throughout the tournament.
“Both teams are ready to go. We have played a lot of ranked teams,” Bohren said. “Both teams are physically ready; both teams have had really good seasons.”
With the opportunity for both the men and women to take home a PacWest title and head to the NCCAA championships, the Cougars’ season success will not be measured based on where they place in the tournament.
“Our goal is to play our best tennis at the end. If we play our best and we lose, that’s still a goal accomplished,” Bohren said. “If we play our best it gives us the best chance to win. If we play hard and we do the things we have been doing all season then it is a successful season if we win or lose.”
Men’s captain, senior Freddy Wilkens, is looking to compete at the highest level heading into the tournament with hopes of making the NCCAA championships while beating conference foe and projected number-one seed, Fresno Pacific.
“Expectations are high just because you never know—we might still be able to make it to nationals if we win against Fresno,” Wilkens said. “It’s important for us to try our best and play 110 percent and beat Fresno in our second round.”
The women’s team is also looking to head into the tournament playing at their highest level of the season, according to team captain and senior Emily Harris.
“We are looking pretty good. We have had a tough season so far, the toughest season we have had since I’ve been here and I think we have really held our own and improved by playing better teams,” Harris said.
Harris is also not measuring the success of the season based upon the results of the tournament.
“My expectation always for the team is for all of us to play hard and whatever happens, happens,” Harris said. “Win or lose, I think we will be successful on some level, but I really expect this team to play their hearts out and whatever the outcome, we will represent ourselves well.”
The men will round out the regular season with matches against Biola and UC San Diego on Wednesday, April 9 and Friday, April 11 respectively, while the women will face UC San Diego on Saturday, April 12 before they head to Arizona for the PacWest tournament.