The sound of the tennis ball getting struck by the racket is back.
The Crimson Hawks are ready to go for another great season of tennis matches and competition.
International college athletes bring it to the table all the time. The university and community are ready to stick behind there Hawks for a vengeful season.
Some students forget to really pay attention to sports like tennis at IUP because of having dominant programs like football and basketball in the mix. The one thing that sticks out the most is all the players on the women’s team are international, which speaks to the diversity at the university.
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hawks are stronger than ever and have improved even more.
“We had a lot of time to improve our fitness level, which will help us at the end of the season when everybody starts to get tired,” Karolin Kirchtag (junior, kinesiology health and sports science) said. “Apart from that, we worked a lot on doubles and will be able to put out three good doubles teams that can compete at any level.”
Unlike other sports, tennis requires both individual skills and seamless teamwork. Being able to have talent for different doubles teams will ensure depth the entire season. With the unprecedented times, you always have something to look forward to and something especially that you love.
“I think we’re all just very happy that we can compete again, play some other schools and show off our improvements,” Kirchtag said. “We’re definitely excited to start the season against some [Division I] schools.”
It is always exciting to see what the next season brings in the world of sports.
Every athlete has a different background and a way they adapt to newer skills, which makes the competition very intense. The Hawks will be seeing a few new teams that were just added to their upcoming season.
Those teams were Bucknell and Wayne State, which are both Division I programs.
“It just means that we can get more matches in, which will prepare us more for the conference tournament,” Kirchtag said. “In times like these, we probably must expect that some matches will get cancelled due to COVID-19, so the more we have on our schedule right now, the more we can get in.”
Any kind of competition for the Hawks will prepare them for the future. It’s always better to play teams you may have not played a whole lot in the past. It brings the different skills out of you and can challenge you to the max.
Do rankings hype a team up? Of course, some teams want to know where they stand against their in-state or out-of-state competitors. With that being said, IUP did manage to rank No. 24 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association coaches’ poll, which was a jump from before.
“It is a good feeling, because we got rewarded for the hard work we put in before,” Kirchtag said. “We have a good team, and this is a good way to start the season. It will definitely push us, so we keep working hard.”
Team rankings are one thing, but every player has pros and cons. Every player is capable of great skill and mindsets.
“We have several new players on the roster this season,” Kirchtag said. “We signed three new freshmen and one transfer who will help us to win important matches and reach our goals. In the end, every player has the same role.
“It doesn’t matter if we win the No. 1 singles or the No. 6 singles. The goal is that the team wins.”
It seems like every player has a role on the team, as it should be. No player should be singled out for their skill level but rewarded and applauded for sure. The key to any successful team is to have a team full of talent with unique skill sets.
IUP is set for a great finish and has some high expectations to have completed by the end of the season.
“The final goal is to qualify for Nationals in Arizona,” Kirchtag said. “However, now we’ll just focus from match to match, so we can improve and play our best tennis at the end of the season. Winning conference is also really high on our list.”
The Crimson Hawks are looking to swing in success as the season is underway, and it looks to be one of the highlights for the IUP student fans to get pumped up for even during the pandemic.