Tennis looks to extend dominance in the MAC-Freedom

The men’s and women’s tennis teams will be looking to continue their dominant success through the MAC-Freedom as their season kicked off this past weekend. Wilkes will be led by first- year head coach Todd Kane as he takes over the program.

The Colonels have been hard at work in practice every day since returning to campus. They have only had a few weeks of practice to get ready for a daunting schedule ahead of them, and have a lot of things to figure out before their season kicks off.

“Taking over in late September did not give me much time to spend with the teams to figure out lineups,” said Kane. “Now I have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses which helps when putting doubles lineups together.”

The men’s team had won 12 consecutive conference championships before their streak was broken last season. The players the team year hope to recapture the title and will be led by sophomore team captain Cole Gibson.

“One individual goal that I am striving for this season is to be a better teammate as well as being a role model for the younger players that we have on the team,” said Gibson.

The women’s team has been virtually unbeatable over the past 14 years. They have won the conference championship every single year over that stretch. Despite the success, the Colonels know they have to keep getting better to be able to continue their streak.

“I think the biggest goal for us currently is working cohesively as a team,” said senior team captain Dasha Yakhnis. “Knowing that each teammate has your back and the same goal in mind is what makes it worth it.”

Although Wilkes has dominated the MAC-Freedom for well over a decade on both the men’s and women’s side, both teams were ranked second in the MAC-

Freedom Coaches’ Preseason Poll with Stevens University taking the number one spot.

“I think we will relish being an underdog against Stevens,” said Kane. “It’s going to be a challenge our athletes will be ready for.”

With the target no longer on their backs, Wilkes will be able to quietly go about their business and continue to get better every day. Their goal, as always, is to win the conference. By the end of the year, do not be surprised to see the Colonels sitting back on the throne atop the MAC-Freedom.

Both teams kicked off their season by facing rival Scranton University at TK Academy. The men’s team captured their first win of the season 6-3, and the women soon followed, as they defeated the Royals 7-2.

Wilkes will look to continue their winning ways as both teams travel to Ithaca College on Saturday.