Last weekend, fans of Muhlenberg tennis caught a glimpse of what’s to come when the team made its debut on the road with two grueling day trips. On Saturday, both teams emerged victorious against Juniata, with the girls earning an 8-1 win and the men securing a 7-2 victory. On Sunday, both teams played a doubleheader where they each faced Moravian College and DeSales University. The women fell to both, whereas the men handily defeated their counterparts 8-1 in both matches. The men completed the weekend 3-0, winning an impressive 23 of 27 matches played.
Although these were the only matches the ladies will be playing in the fall, the men will be heading down to Fredericksburg, VA from Oct. 4-6 to compete in the ITA Southeast Regional. Then, they conclude their fall season with a showdown against local rival and Division I school Lafayette College on Oct. 8.
Part of both teams’ early successes can be attributed to the hands-on style of their coach, Jason Toedter. “It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve practiced every day, [and we] expect nothing short of our best from one another…coach has worked diligently to prepare us for different styles of play from opponents, on top of having us adhere to an intense workout regimen,” said Caroline Maglaras ‘23, who won all of her matches on Saturday.
“Individually, he has set aside time for me to work on my strokes and has worked on a specific game plan for each of my matches,” Maglaras continued.
Maglaras provides a unique perspective in that for her, this was her first time playing a real match against college-level opponents. This weekend seemed to mark the end of a transition for the rookie, and she did not disappoint. “My mindset for this weekend was to give it my all, trust not only myself, but also my teammates and coaches, and to do everything in my power to make sure I was in complete control for every point. This weekend was great for me from an individual standpoint in that I not only was successful, but I gained a new understanding of collegiate tennis and learned the subtle nuances that make it different from the high school level,” Maglaras added.
The men are coming off a transitional season when Toedter was a rookie coach. The Mules made a final push last year and their chance to make the playoffs was decided in their season finale. They ended up finishing with 6 wins, their most since 2009.
With a new freshman, Benedict Kohler ‘23, leading the team at first singles and the team losing no starters from last year, the spring season could be a huge opportunity.
The entire group, both veterans and rookies alike, do not want the narrative of last season to define how this year will play out. They have an understanding of what they need to do to ensure their success.
“We need to work together, have a common goal and to be at our best at every practice and lift in order to be the best team we can be in the spring. We need to expand on our own strengths and improve on our weaknesses instead of paying attention to our opponents’ past performances. As a team, we came into this weekend with a positive mindset and we were focused on how to work with our new partners in order to be at our collective best come springtime,” Maglaras said.
“We need to keep working hard in general, but particularly on our consistency and drilling if we want to write the story differently,” Rose Glantz ‘22 added.
This understanding of what it takes will propel both teams to the next level, as both squads have their sights set on reaching the postseason.