Texas Wesleyan’s new tennis team just wrapped up its first season and head coach Angel Martinez is looking forward to the next one.
Finishing with a record of one win and no losses in dual competition, 57-61 in singles and 31-34 in doubles matches, the team had a great season, Martinez said.
“In every tournament, except for one, we were in the finals and won titles,” Martinez said. “Against NAIA competition we have only lost two matches the whole season.”
Martinez said that he has seen a lot of improvement from his team over the course of the season.
“From what I’ve seen from the first day of practice up until now the improvement has been incredible,” Martinez said. “The girls have responded every time we’ve had to correct things so I’m really excited for what the future holds.”
Wesleyan last had a tennis team in 2002. In September, Athletic Director Steve Trachier said the team had been brought back so more women could play sports.
“We started doing some research and it looked like tennis would be a good sport to start up for women,” he said.
Martinez, who coached in high school for 31 years, said he believes that this season’s success is due to recruiting.
“We didn’t really recruit talent first,” Martinez said. “We recruited character, individuals I could trust and individuals who could be accountable for their actions.”
Martinez said that even though the NAIA forbids any interaction between a player and coach, the team is still training hard in the offseason.
“The offseason will test and see how much ownership these girls are willing to take into their game and I think they have it,” Martinez said. “We are going to come up with a plan to eliminate weaknesses and improve injury, that’s number one.”
Ashton Willis and Emily Murchland, both freshmen, also said this first season was a great success.
“I think it went really well, a lot better than I expected actually,” Willis said. “Only because we were a new team and I didn’t exactly know how we would perform.”
Murchland said much of that success can be credited to Martinez.
“He was really good with the team and always made sure everyone worked hard in training,” she said. “He’s a great coach and he really knows what he’s talking about. It was really helpful throughout the season.”
Willis said that the biggest challenge this season was dealing with the extra work.
“I definitely had to learn how to balance school and tennis,” she said. “Traveling a lot made me learn things like time-management.”
Murchland’s transition from her home in New Zealand to America started off a little rough.
“It’s been a mess of change for me,” she said. “Coming onto a new team and going to all these tournaments in all these states is overwhelming.”
Willis said she believes that near future can hold great things for them if they put in the work.
“I think we can do a lot within the next two years and it’s not just the skill but the character,” she said. “We all get along really well and I think that if we keep it up we can make it to nationals.”