By James Thatcher
The men”s tennis team is gearing up for a trip to Las Vegas this weekend, though they don”t intend to see anything in the way of gambling or gaudy entertainment.
Instead, the Cougars will compete in the International Tennis Association regional tournament along with 17 other schools.
“It”s going to be a good tournament for us – we have a really good team this year,” team member Chip Hand said.
Coach Brad Pearce said the team had been practicing hard the past two weeks, then slowed down on the weekend to conserve energy for the tournament.
“We”ve worked really, really hard preparing for the regional,” he said. “I promised them that we would back off a little bit, so they could freshen up – taper if you will.”
Each team member has his own way of mentally preparing for a big match.
“I like to stay consistent, and then when I see my opportunity just go out and attack,” Hand said.
His teammate, Nima Roshan, said he tries to visualize his play beforehand.
“I think about what kind of match I want to be playing, what my game plan is and try to get in the right state of mind,” Roshan said. “Whether it be extremely energetic, which it usually is, or whether I need to be more calm and focused on the match that day.”
Roshan said he has been working on his returns and hopes to advance further than he did last year.
The tournament is a single elimination bracket with a consolation round.
A player earns a point for each win in the main draw and half a point for a win in the consolation round.
The school whose players earn the most points wins the tournament. Six of the eight competing players will earn points for winning while the players that don”t act as “spoilers,” meaning they can still prevent other players from winning.
Generally, the higher a school”s players are seeded, the less chance there is of them facing and eliminating each other in the early rounds.
The team left for Las Vegas on Monday, with the main draw beginning today.