The Lamar women’s tennis team began the 2017 season with three games in January. The team holds a 1-2 record.

“We’re just starting,” head coach David Wong said. “We’re pleased so far. We have a loss that we thought we should have won, but sometimes you have to work through those adversities.”

David Wong

This is Wong’s 18th season as head coach. He said he feels the team has begun the season well.

“This season is starting better than last season,” he said. “We have four seniors, so the maturity of the team is better, but most important is belief and taking care of little details, and I feel that they’re doing much better in that area.”

Wong said he predicts this season will be better than the 2016 season.

“I feel very confident that we’re going to do well this season,” he said. “The intensity is better in practice and I can see that the want from them is to be conference champions by the way that they practice. We focus a lot on process. When you focus on the process, the result will be favorable.”

Wong said the leadership shown by freshman Jasmin Buchta gives him confidence.

“I think she hits a strong ball and that she shows some leadership by her actions,” he said.

One of the team’s strengths is the players’ ability to work together, Wong said.

“They’re eight different personalities,” he said. “They have to jive with each other. They’re very connected and respect each other as friends. The best teams that I have coached have been connected.

“Although tennis is an individual sport, it’s also a team because they play for the university — they’re playing for something that’s bigger than themselves.”

Wong said that he believes recruiting plays an essential role in sustaining the program.

“Recruiting is 365 days a year,” he said. “You have to keep recruiting the best that you can for your program to have success. I don’t recruit only the best players. They have to have a certain minimum level of playing, but I want to recruit the right girls, where we can make a difference not only in their tennis but in their lives. I want to recruit fierce Cardinals.”

Wong said he hopes the team’s play will build a following.

“I would like the community — the Cardinal Nation, the students, the families — to support these young ladies, because the more support we have, the better we play,” he said. “Fan base is very important to us. That’s any sport. If you want to put a good product out, you have to have a fan base. We want a loyal fan base, because they work hard, they put their hearts out there.”

The team’s next home game is a double header against Alcorn State, February 11, at the Thompson Family Tennis Center.

Caitlin McAlister

UP staff writer

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