The UC Santa Cruz men’s tennis team hopes to go down in history this season, adding to their long history of success in preceding years.
Members of the tennis team said they came into the competition this year believing that if they played up to their potential, there would be no other team that could stop them from winning the championship.
“It takes a lot of courage to set out for the championship,” said 27-year veteran and head tennis coach Bob Hansen. “But I’ve learned that if you don’t set your goal to win it all, then you’ll never win it all. [However], I’ll feel happy if we have no regrets at the end of the season.”
Hansen’s assistant coaches and players echo his sentiment that a successful season ends with no regrets.
“We aim to be No. 1 each year,” said head assistant coach and former UCSC tennis player Bryce Parmelly. “We want no regrets and you can only control how hard you train. [That’s why] we’ve put in the hours, working our asses off.”
The team also attributes their success to the players themselves. Of the 13-man roster, five are seasoned seniors, and that seems to be making all the difference.
“Our top five players are all seniors,” said Ilya Gendelman, who is one of those seniors.
“They know what it takes to win,” Parmelly added. “Maturity and hard work.”
In addition to Gendelman, Jared Kamel, Max Liberty-Point, Colin Mark-Griffin and Max Ortiz are all seniors who have been working under Coach Hansen for an extended amount of time.
“Gotta put in the work,” Gendelman said. “Leave everything out there on the court.”
After starting off with some tough losses, they rebounded with wins against Cal Lutheran, ranked No. 27 in Division III, and Sonoma State (No. 30), followed by a 9-0 win vs. Trinity University at the ITA National Indoors. This has all led up to the highly anticipated match-up with rival Claremont (No. 3) on May 2, in which the victor gets to host the Division III Tennis Regionals.
Home-court advantage is extremely important to Hansen. The UCSC men’s tennis team has been almost unbeatable when playing at home, winning five out of six games.
The team anticipates seeing UCSC fans out there in the stands for their pivotal match against Claremont.
“Fan attendance has been decent this season,” Hansen said. “Not abnormally high or abnormally low.”
They expect — and hope — that will change on May 2 as the third-ranked tennis team in Division III, Claremont, goes heads-up with our fourth-ranked UCSC men’s tennis team.
Athletic fans will be expected to go crazy and show up in blue and yellow body paint on May 2 as the Slugs take on Claremont.
“At our most recent game we had a good fan turnout,” Parmelly said. “We want people to know that this is rowdy-ass college tennis. The fans can go nuts.”