Tennis team undefeated

Graduate student Jeremiah De Luna hits a forehand. Photo courtesy of UTD Athletics.

UTD’s men’s and women’s tennis teams are No. 1 in the ASC East conference for Division III, where they have persisted as undefeated against other DIII teams.

The women have played 12 games so far — three of which were against other DIII colleges in the East conference — with an overall score of 8–4 and a conference score of 3–0. The men, on the other hand, have played 10 games so far — two of which affected their conference standings — with an overall score of 5–5 and a conference score of 2–0. Games against DI and DII schools do not affect conference standing.

On March 14, freshman Nathan Qi and sophomore Elyssa Ducret were named Players of the Week for the ASC East division. With five and six overall matches to go for the men and women respectively until the ASC Championship Quarterfinals, coach Bryan Whitt said he hopes that both the teams can retain their No.1 spot.

“Ultimately, beating the teams of the ASC East is really the main thing that matters to get us to the tournament,” Whitt said. “We’re undefeated in the East. We still have East Texas Baptist University and LeTourneau University on the men’s side, but on the women’s side we just have ETBU left.”

Despite the smooth progression throughout the tournament so far, software engineering graduate student Jeremiah “Jed” De Luna said that the men’s doubles lineup has been changed to improve results and camaraderie.

“We felt like if we wanted to take some of these doubles matches, there would have to be a change,” De Luna said. “I definitely think we’ve got three stronger doubles teams as a result. I think us being more flexible now has really helped our doubles lineup because we’ve been able to make a couple swaps, and we’re really able to fit the puzzle pieces together. I could watch my teammates compete, and it really felt like we were coming together as a team, not just as competitors.”

The women have also been practicing rigorously. According to healthcare management sophomore Megan Zeng, spring break has been both a relaxing and crucial time for the team.

“We each either went home, or some of us [stayed] in Dallas because a lot of our team is from Dallas,” Zeng said. “Even though we had a break, a lot of us were still able to practice just because we know we have a lot of matches following spring break. Each of us just practiced individually. One of our teammates, Rebecca, is also from Austin, and I’m from Austin, so we were able to practice with each other.”

Whitt said he hopes to secure the first spot for DIII in the East conference. The upcoming men’s game is on April 9 against SMU and the next women’s game is on April 1 against Southwestern University.

“April is the big month because that’s when we play the bulk of our conference [matches] and all the seatings kind of get worked out because they’re all playing each other too, and their results affect our results,” Whitt said. “Within the next week or two, we might know who the number one seeds are even if we haven’t played everybody because they’ve played other people.”

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