Fall season will help new Mesa State tennis players gain experience
Six new student-athletes will play their first tennis matches for Mesa State College this weekend.
Four of the new players will play for the women’s team.
The Mesa State and tennis teams begin the fall season Friday against Colorado Christian University in a nonleague dual in Denver. The Mavericks play CSU-Pueblo and Metro State this weekend in Denver. The men will also play the College of Sante Fe (N.M.) and the women play Fort Hays State (Kan.) University.
Next weekend, the women play a dual against Nebraska-Kearney and in the Wilson Intercollegiate Tennis Association tournament in Kearney, Neb.
The men do the same the first weekend in October.
“I want my kids to play some matches before the spring (when the teams play for the RMAC championship and an NCAA tournament berth),” Mesa State coach Dan MacDonald said. “The fall hurt the guys last year. We lost a couple matches in the fall and had a bad Division II record. It has a bearing, but with such a young team, it’s good to get out and play. We’ll see what we have, come back and build for the spring. The new kids can get experience.”
The fall matches will give the two returning women’s players, sophomores Kate Lowder and Victoria Sargent, a chance to experience playing up a spot at No. 1 and 2 singles respectively. Lowder replaces RMAC player of the year Teri Mayeda, who graduated.
It will also be the first matches for freshmen twins Kelleen and Kaitlan Sera (Lahiana, Hawaii) and Mandie Divino (Sandy, Utah). The three will play three, four and five singles, respectively. Junior college transfer Renee Demianeu (Athena, Ore.) will play No. 6 singles. Central High School graduates Amber Armendarez and Cyndle Curfman could
play some matches this fall as well.
“It’s kind of a changing of the guard with the women,” MacDonald said. “I’m impressed with the quality of the play from the freshmen. Now, it’s a matter of playing like we practice. The Hawaiian girls have touch.”
MacDonald has four players returning for the men’s team, but he has a new No. 1 player in junior college transfer Rashad Khamis (Corona, Calif.), who was a two-time all-conference player for Riverside (Calif.) Community College.
Khamis takes the place of Joey Coleman, who transferred to Boise State University, where he plans to try out for the tennis team.
Jordan Chomko, Nick Provenza, Niko Carrizo and Kevin Nydam return and will play Nos. 2 through 5 singles.
Freshman William Kellar (Arvada) will play No. 6 singles.
“Rashad has a great work ethic, but he’s used to hitting out and the ball staying in,” MacDonald said. “Chomko looks better than ever, Provenza had a good summer, Niko should be OK and Kevin Nydam is playing well. The bottom of the lineup be key for the men. When Joey left, it push everybody up a spot.”