Taking a fresh approach
Freshmen have Mesa men's tennis team off to solid start
Colorado Mesa University tennis coach Dan MacDonald knew he’d be playing more freshmen this year.
He figured the Mavericks could go through some growing pains this season as a result.
Then again, maybe not.
The Colorado Mesa men’s team is off to a good start for the 2012-13 season regularly playing four freshmen.
The Mavericks (5-1) defeated Colorado Christian 9-0 on Friday at the Elliott Tennis Center on the campus of CMU. The Mesa women (2-4) defeated CCU 9-0 with three freshmen.
“(The freshmen men) are solid,” MacDonald said. “They’ve been surprising to me. I didn’t think they’d be as good as they would. Two of them made huge jumps. I knew the (Andres Garcia-)Rojas kid would be solid. I knew he would make an impact. Taylor Macres and Trevor Brown have been big surprises. They’ve given us a lot more depth. They’ve exceeded my expectations. They’re good, solid team players.”
Taylor Macres won 6-2, 6-2 at No. 2 singles and Duncan Alger won 6-4, 6-2 at No. 6 singles.
Macres was used to tough competition at No. 1 singles the past two years for Mountain Range High School in Westminster, and he believed he was ready to contribute as a freshman for the Mavericks. He has played No. 4 or 5 singles this fall.
“I figured it would be a step up,” Macres said. “I was in a pretty tough conference in high school playing singles, but competition here is a lot tougher. There’s a lot more work, lot more practice and time off the court conditioning, but I love every second of it.”
Macres and Trevor Brown of Powell Butte, Ore., teamed up for an 8-5 win at No. 1 doubles, Andres Garcia-Rojas contributed in an 8-0 win at No. 2 doubles, and Alger was on the No. 3 doubles team that won 8-2.
Garcia-Rojas has played No. 2 singles in four duals and is 2-2 so far this season.
“I expected to be one of the top guys on the team,” he said. “Coach (MacDonald) said I might play one or two singles.”
On the women’s side, freshmen Michelle Phillips and Katie Metz expected to compete and make the traveling team, and they did.
“Michelle was another surprise, to tell you the truth,” MacDonald said. “She came to our tryout camp in January, and I can’t keep her off the court. She’s a good student. Katie is a really good doubles player. She’s been a great addition to the team.”
Phillips persevered for a 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), (11-9) victory Friday at No. 3 singles. Emily Dodson won 6-4, 6-4 at No. 6 singles.
“I’m really enjoying it a lot,” Phillips said. “It’s nice to play with a bunch of people that really care about the sport. I really like the team spirit. Everyone is really awesome.”
Phillips teamed with Metz to win 8-0 at No. 3 doubles.
Phillips also won her singles match and doubles match with Metz as her partner Thursday in the Mavericks’ 8-1 victory over Dixie State (Utah) College.
The Mavericks men and women conclude the fall portion of the schedule today, beginning with a dual against Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference foe Metro State at 8:30 a.m.
“I think we’re right there,” MacDonald said. “We’ll find out (today) when we play Metro State. The Metro State women should be one of the favorites, too.”