By Eric Quinones
The upcoming men’s tennis season at Palm Beach Atlantic University is expected to be exciting for the team.
With many returning players, along with the addition of new ones, this looks to be a successful season for the tennis team.
When asked about the team’s primary focus this season, Coach Chi Ly said, “We want to move up in the national rankings and win the NCCAA national championship.”
This is a mantra often repeated within the Athletic Department, but the men’s tennis team is hoping to set the tone for the year.
The official tennis season does not start until next semester at PBA, but the team does have two preseason tournaments coming up which will be an excellent opportunity for the players to gain confidence.
If the players perform well in these tournaments, they hope attendance and support from PBA students will increase.
“It’s a good opportunity to start learning about this amazing sport and what better team to go watch play than the PBA men’s tennis team,” said team member Diego Malaga. “We were ranked in the nation last season. They will also have a great time watching us play.”
Although the atmosphere of home games and response from PBA students has been less than they expected, the team still anticipates a turn-around in performance to create a turn-around in attendance.
Some key returning players are Krasimir Atanasov and Luke Bolanos.
Their experience will strengthen the team and help the new players.
Playing in one of the toughest conferences in Division II tennis, the PBA men’s tennis team has a difficult season ahead in order to come out with a winning record.
Their schedule includes tough matches against Barry University, Lynn University and others.
Some of PBA’s opponents are ranked in the top tier of Division II tennis.
If they can beat some of these universities or at least give them a tough matchup, it will show the potential the men’s tennis team truly has.
Last season the team went all the way to the NCCAA National Championships.
This was a great accomplishment for the program, though they hope to go even farther this season by winning.
“We will try to put 110 percent in every match,” Malaga said. “We are also a very united team and have great chemistry. The most important thing is that we think as a team and not as individuals. We support each other.”
Ly is optimistic about the team’s chances for a championship this year, even with several new players.
“We can accomplish this by training hard this past month for our tune up tournaments that will get us ready for our upcoming season,” Ly said. “We have a good balance of veteran players and new players also.”
The team finished strong last season, winning 17 of their 26 games. However, considering the tough competition the men are up against, they have a long road ahead.