West Liberty’s Men’s tennis set to begin 2021 season this weekend

West Liberty Men’s Tennis will get their 2021 season underway this weekend with a scrimmage in Charleston, West Virginia before hitting competitive action at the University of Findlay in Ohio on Feb. 20 and Ashland University in Ohio on Feb. 21. This is the first full season the Toppers will have with Ronald Hulewicz as Head Coach after his initial season in charge ended abruptly due to COVID-19.
With more than half of the squad coming from countries other than the United States, getting in team practices has been difficult over the past year. “We still actually have a couple players not here,” said Hulewicz. “We have one in Uzbekistan and one in Venezuela.” This means that players have had to be particularly careful in the current climate to stay fit and healthy to make sure the team has enough players to enter into competition.
Although the pandemic has undoubtedly made training more difficult, like all of WLU’s athletes, the tennis team has learned to adapt to the new regulations and have made the most of the facilities that are available to them. “It’s been a challenge, especially at first, but little by little we are adapting,” said Hulewicz.
Despite the difficulties that Hulewicz’s Toppers have faced over the last 11 months, the atmosphere in the team remains positive with the players raring to go in what is predicted to be a highly competitive season. “The morale is very high, they’re itching to play… the desire to play is at an all time high after being bottled up for so long,” said Hulewicz. The enthusiasm and energy amongst the players is significant, with every effort being made to train despite the recent adverse weather conditions which have made outdoor practices all the more challenging.
Hopes are high for WLU Tennis this year with a strong squad featuring notable returners including senior standout Anton Schulz from Menden, Germany, as well as some highly anticipated incoming players such as Isfandiyor Makhumudov from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. “We’re practicing our tails off right now. We’re putting in a lot of time conditioning and training, we’re out there practicing a lot,” said Hulewicz. The work ethic combined with raw talent on the squad set the team up nicely to have a positive season this spring.
This weekend’s scrimmage in Charleston will be an important checkpoint for the Toppers before their opening fixture of the competitive season in just nine days in Ohio. WLU’s first home fixture is on March 5 where the Toppers will go head-to-head with West Virginia State University where West Liberty will try and maintain their unbeaten record against the Yellow Jackets. The full tennis schedule can be found on Hilltoppersports.com. Check back with the Trumpet over the coming weeks for more tennis updates.