By Yijing Shen, Distribution Manager
Coach Sam McCullough’s restructuring opened the 2018 season with an overwhelming 7-0 victory this past Tuesday against Grove City College. The Hilltoppers swept all three doubles and left with no losses in singles play to finish off the match.
Coach McCullough recognized the team as being satisfactory and appreciated their effort. “We have five new players, including several freshmen and sophomores, only one senior on the team,” said McCullough. “Practice has been very good, everybody has been working hard. The fact that players have been coming down from their homes and working out when we don’t have practice, I am very pleased with that.”
Being new to Hilltop doesn’t bother freshmen athletes to display their ambition. Freshman player Akira Kawabata is ready and prime for action toward the Tournament, “I think we got a decent team this year. Everyone looks forward to win as a team,” Kawabata said. “It’s the first proper tournament I play in U.S., so I will do everything I can do right now. I’m going as far as I can.”
Freshman player Anton Schulz has set a reachable goal, he said: “The competition is really strong, I hope that most of us can at least win one round in doubles and one round in singles. I think it’s a realistic goal for us.”
The Tournament wont be any pressure to the humble Hilltoppers, gaining experience is the major goal. “We are going to treat the ITA as a learning experience, see how well we do against some of the better teams in the region. So we are going there, and hoping the best,” McCullough said.
Freshman Maurits Smit showed confidence to the prospect of the family-like team, “I really like the boys, everyone is super motivated on and off the court. It is also very nice to play with people from different countries and hope we will do great this year,” said Smit.
The ITA Open Tournament will last for three days, any student-athlete from NCAA Division II in the Atlantic Region is welcome participate.
Photo Credit: Yijing Shen