Liberty Flames Tennis wraps up a stellar spring season
In its inaugural season in the ASUN, Liberty athletics has taken its new conference by storm, finishing first or second place in some of the most high-profile sports. Liberty’s men’s and women’s tennis teams have done their part, both finishing second in the ASUN.
“This has been a good step for the whole athletic department,” men’s tennis Head Coach Derek Schwandt said. “We have a step up in the competition. We have high goals for our team, and where we started two years ago to now, we have taken steps toward our vision.”
This is the second time in program history that men’s tennis has been No. 2 seed going into the postseason tournament. They kept their losses to a minimum at their meets, ending their season 6-1.
The men’s tennis team realized what it was like to play together in what most people think of as an individual sport. Their mission is to stay unified and be consistent, and they have seen their efforts pay off.
“We try to reward that when we see it on the court,” Schwandt said. “They have to make better decisions so that they can be more disciplined.”
The Liberty women’s tennis team also came in second in the ASUN conference this year, overcoming a rough start to the season to finish it successfully. Once they picked up momentum, they used it to propel themselves into holding first place in the conference for a few weeks.
“We did a good job ranked one of the highest teams in the ASUN conference,” junior Kalani Soli said. “But we did face some really good teams, so landing in the top two was really good for us.”
Not only did the Lady Flames place high in the ASUN conference, but Head Coach Jeff Maren was named ASUN Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year.
“He cares about his players and that’s why he deserves this,” Soli said.
Maren said that tennis is a sport that lasts 11 months out of the year, and those months when they are not competing for Liberty, they are practicing so that they can get better. They do not get too much of a break, but the results on the court come from everything they do during practice.
“This season was fuel for the summer,” Schwandt said. “Summer is good for staying motivated and creating habits. The guys are excited to gain more experience. Learning to stay calm and composed under pressure is something they can all learn.”
Next season will lead the Flames into the second year in the ASUN conference.
“It is an exciting time to be in Liberty athletics, in any sport,” Schwandt said. “The ‘Rise With Us’ theme is happening all around us.”