Lexington, Ky. – With the 2018 season quickly approaching, the Transylvania men's tennis team is preparing to embark upon a journey towards their goal of a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament crown.
Now, in his third season at Transylvania, Transylvania men's tennis head coach Kevin Calhoun has high expectations for his Pioneers who showed measurable improvement throughout last season.
"The main goal is to continue moving forward as we have the past two seasons," remarks Calhoun. "We lost in the quarterfinals of the HCAC Tournament in 2018, and we think we have the team to go deeper into the tournament this year."
Transylvania will be tested early in the season by a strong nonconference schedule that includes three teams that qualified for last year's NCAA D-III Men's Tennis Tournament: Sewanee, Northwestern, and Thomas More.
"All five of our matches before spring break are very tough," says Calhoun. "I'm anticipating that our guys will learn to identify the small things that are required to win matches at this level and commit to becoming better at those things."
Prior to HCAC play, the Pioneers will embark upon their annual spring break trip to Orlando, Florida. While in the Sunshine state, Transylvania will face a slew of formidable opponents, including Piedmont and Wheaton.
"The Florida trip is always a chance for the team to grow closer," reflects Calhoun. "Staying in a house, eating meals, being together for a week always makes the guys grow closer. We want to play good tennis and learn competitively, but also grow into a group that has bought into the team's vision."
With the departure of five members from last year's team, the 2019 Pioneers will have a new look as Calhoun welcomes a class of five freshmen to campus that includes Hugo Kouhkna and twins Nick and Noah McNamee.
"The freshmen have come in with a lot of spirit and enthusiasm in addition to their talent," analyzes Calhoun. "It's hit our program with a needed boost of energy. All five of them will see court time this year, and will impact our program in a positive way."
"Daniel and Brandon are very important to the team's success this season," analyzes Calhoun. "Daniel was asked to be a captain by his teammates, which is a high honor. His voice carries a lot of weight and we will need his leadership to be vocal this season. Brandon has been through some tough matches and his passion will help the team compete with pride."
Transylvania will open the spring season with a pair of matches against Southern Athletic Association foes Sewanee and Rhodes this weekend at Top Seed Tennis Club in Nicholasville, Kentucky. The Pioneers will square off against Sewanee at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a matchup with Rhodes at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.
For more on Transylvania tennis, follow @TransyTennis on Twitter