The Dixie State College women’s tennis season is right around the corner, and with four new players the team is anxious for its first tournament.
The team will travel to Los Angeles for its first regional tournament on Sept. 27-29. The coaches will have spent about a month preparing the girls for their first matches.
Seven women joined the team this season. Three are returners and the rest are just starting.
“We’ve got some great new girls coming in,” head coach Eric Pelton said. “They’re young, but I think they’ll be able to do well. I think they’ve got a lot of talent and skill.”
Four women will compete in the regional tournament next week in Los Angeles, and the winners will go to nationals. The following weekend the team will travel to Colorado to play 14 matches.
Pelton said he anticipates the start of the season for multiple reasons.
“It’s great to be out here and practice, but when we actually get out and start competing it definitely brings a whole new excitement and a whole new level,” Pelton said. “It helps (the girls) to understand what level they need to be at to be able to win.”
Returner Sierra Smith, a sophomore elementary education major from Denton, Texas, said she is curious to see what the competition will be like for the rest of the season.
“I just want to see how we measure up against the new teams in our conference as well as the ones last year,” Smith said.
Four new schools joined Dixie’s tennis conference this year: Azusa Pacific University, Fresno Pacific University, Point Loma Nazarene University and Holy Names University. The women’s tennis team will be competing against some of the top 20 teams in Division II of the nation, Pelton said.
Smith said she is excited for the new talent joining the team, especially freshman Joy Naigeon, who came to DSC all the way from France to play tennis.
“She’s our first foreign player,” Smith said. “She’s really strong. Usually with tennis, the more foreign players the stronger the team is, so I’m just excited to build the team up and progress.”
Smith also said she thinks it would be beneficial for the team to work on doubles chemistry, as well as each player’s performance during high pressure situations with more match play experience.
“You can go out there and drill all day, but match playing and getting used to being in pressure situations is really going to help us,” Smith said.
Pelton said he hopes the team can win at least 50 percent of the season.
Lindsey Jones, a junior psychology major from Fruitland, Idaho, said she hopes the team gains more experience throughout the season and makes it to the concluding conference tournament where the top eight teams compete for an overall winner.
“We just really want to win and have a great year,” Jones said.