Tennis squad keeps up moral despite no home court

Annie Clarkson

The Missouri Southern women’s tennis team is coming into the home stretch of its tennis season.

All the squad is missing is a home court advantage.

Weather has made the Southern tennis courts unplayable, and the team recently lost its privileges with Millenium Tennis & Fitness Club, through no fault of its own.

As a result, most of Southern’s matches had to be played on the road. Some recent practices were held at the Carthage Underground courts and at Joplin High School.

“The team morale is good for what we’ve had to go through,” said Larry McGregor, tennis head coach. “They’ve done a great job handling all the travel and keeping up with their studies. They make the extra effort.”

No one on the team complained when its travels took it to Hutchinson Island, Fla., for spring break. The team participated in Division I, Division II and NAIA matches and came home with a 3-1 record.

The team is scheduled to play its only local matches today and tomorrow at Schifferdecker Park tennis courts against Fort Hays State University, Northwest Missouri State University and Missouri Western State University.

“We’d love to have the college and the community come out and cheer us on,” said freshman Kati Andersen. “It helps to play on a home court and the crowd makes it a lot more fun.”

Andersen was surprised recently to learn that one of her classmates didn’t even know Southern has a tennis team.

“If we had our courts resurfaced, we’d be out there on the courts all the time,” Andersen said.

Southern Director of Athletics Sallie Beard confirmed that the athletics and kinesiology departments have made formal requests to have the necessary work done on the courts.

Andersen and McGregor agree that the team’s depth will continue to grow next year. The team consists of four freshmen, one sophomore and three seniors.

Andersen and her doubles partner, Michelle Hall, came in 2nd in regional competition last fall. Brittany Kockler, senior business major, was recently named MIAA Player of the Week.

The players agree that the recent acquisition of McGregor is a major coup for the team. McGregor brings with him 28 years of teaching experience and 15 years of tennis coaching.

“He’s a good coach,” Andersen said. “He stepped up at the last minute and he keep us focused on our grades.”

Now all they need is a place to call home.