With a new season about to start, the roster for both tennis teams looks very different compared to last season’s.
For the first time in three years, women’s tennis will have four seniors on their team: Jordan Batey, Carly Bohman, Alicia Doms and Yana Mavrina.
“It definitely gives us more maturity, and hopefully they will lead the younger players,” coach Steve Mauro said. “They have been in a lot of tough matches so they know what it takes. So hopefully their experience will help them and help their teammates.”
On the other hand, the men’s team, which has no seniors, needs a new captain. Last year’s captain, Kacper Rams, graduated in May, but Mauro is not eager to choose a captain yet. However, Mauro said junior Kristian Marquart is being considered.
“[Marquart] is one that I expect to be a captain,” Mauro said. “But we will wait and see how the fall season plays out.”
The men’s fall season will begin on Sept. 7 with the Navy Blue Invite and conclude with the ITA Regional Championship on Oct. 22. During that time, the team will play five tournaments where Mauro will get the opportunity to see who would best fulfill the role of captain.
“The main thing for us is finding a player who leads by example,” Mauro said. “He doesn’t necessarily have to be the most outgoing or the most vocal, but a player who leads.”
Marquart is quite familiar with being a leader.
“I used to be class representative and school representative at my high school in Germany, and I also was the team captain for the tennis club games in Germany for a few years,” Marquart said. “Being the captain of Temple men’s tennis team is going to be a challenge [but] I am going to look forward [to it].”
Rams, who was the captain for a year, has set some examples for the next captain to follow.
“[Rams] did a good job as captain,” Marquart said. “He really worked hard and tried to push every player to his limits on the court.”
On the women’s side, Mauro won’t have to worry about leadership. He has been coaching the four seniors since their freshman year at Temple– a year with a similar amount of seniors.
“There were five seniors when I came on the team, and it was a great experience for me,” Mavrina said. “I enjoyed a great atmosphere that they created [on] the team and learned a lot that year.”
Now the seniors have the chance to be good examples to their teammates and encourage them to become better student athletes.
“I will act as a role model for all my teammates,” Doms said. “With this, I mean that I will do things right, on and off the court, so that all my teammates follow the same steps. That way, the whole team will work hard and will have a good performance. Also, I will try to help my teammates, especially all the freshmen. I understand that it is really hard to get used to everything and that it is a big change for those who come from different countries. Therefore, it is very important to have good communication between each other.”
Mauro has watched the seniors grow and develop on the tennis court. Whether it was their improvement on their serves or volleys, or just working as a team during doubles matches, Mauro is pleased with their improvement since freshman year.
“Their games are a little more complex, whereas when they were freshmen they had one style of play,” Mauro said. “Now, they have developed where they can adapt and play against different styles. Overall, they have become better players, especially in doubles where they have a little bit more court awareness.”
As the years have passed, the seniors continued to excel in the classroom as well.
“Academically, all four have done well since their freshman year,” Mauro said. “They have matured and become more leaders as opposed to freshman year when they were following the system. Now they are leading as the upperclassmen.”
As the semester approaches and the fall season looms, the seniors are excited to help their new teammates balance both school and tennis.
“Being a student and taking part on the tennis team at the same time makes you stronger in different ways,” Doms said. “You learn how to organize your time so that you have time enough to study, practice and travel; to put effort on and off the court, to push yourself when you are tired during the day and still have things left to do.”
Danielle Nelson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Dan_Nels.