UIndy Tennis Hopes To Continue Their Success Into Playoffs

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Photo contributed by Jacob Walton Women’s tennis team members celebrate after a success during an outdoor regional tournament Sept. 16 through Sept. 18. After their success in the fall season, the men’s and women’s teams are excited for the postseason matches.

The University of Indianapolis tennis teams are gearing up for postseason play starting with the GLVC Tournament, according to UIndy Athletics. According to their schedules, both the men’s and women’s team will compete in their conference finals the weekend of May 3. Head Coach and Director of Tennis Malik Tabet said there is a lot of excitement around the tournament given how well both teams did last season.

“To me, the conference is a really cool thing,” Tabet said. “We’ve won it the last two years, both men’s and women’s, so that’s an exciting event for us. It’s always nice to be on top of the conference.”

According to the GLVC website, the top four teams from the East and West Divisions will make it to the tournament. Both teams are expected to make it as both the men’s and women’s teams are ranked in the top of their divisions. Tabet said the season has been busy but has, overall, gone well for both programs- especially on the men’s team.

“The men’s team has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the country,” Tabet said. “It’s still nice to this day that we still are making history as a program where we have Tom Zeuch, who’s not only number one in the country in singles, but also in doubles with Matthieu Darache  and that’s first in our program. We’ve beaten the No. 1 team in the country. We hosted a national indoor [championship], which is a big event for us. So it’s been full.”

Tabet said the team tried something different with their training this year, experimenting with the athletes having a longer recovery period before starting the latter half of their season. He said he had noticed some fatigue within his athletes in previous seasons, so he decided to try giving them more time to regain their strength.

“I’ve noticed in the past that we just were dragging our feet,” Tabet said. “This year I wanted to give them some time to rest and recoup and regenerate for the second half of the season. It’s working out right now.”

On the women’s side of the ball, Tabet said although the team had a tough year, there is still potential for the team to go far. Junior Tyffaine Pais is a vital contributor to the team, Tabet said, recording a top-five national ranking during the season. Pais said she thought it was beneficial to have the extra time to recover this year since it gave them time to correct their mistakes.

“We saw that against some teams, some players, things were not really working,” Pais said. “Right now, since we had one month without matches and all this stuff, we practiced and focused a little bit more on the technique and all the things we can do better.”

Although the team dropped from No.15 in the national rankings because of not having any matches, Pais is still hopeful for what the team can do in the postseason. She said although the team’s goal is to make it to nationals, they have to focus on taking it one match at a time. 

“The biggest thing is nationals,” Pais said. “I would be really proud of the team because it’s a really good accomplishment. The thing I’m most excited about is of course like all the things that are before, because everything is important. You can play amazing and, it’s based on one match and you don’t qualify for nationals. If you lose the last match of regionals then you don’t qualify for nationals, so of course I want to focus on all the steps but the thing I’m most excited about is nationals.”

The UIndy tennis program is committed to training at the highest level, Tabet said, so the challenge is to maintain that culture of winning. After battling through injuries and adversity this year, Tabet is hoping the team is able to live up to the standards they have set in the postseason. The GLVC Championship will be held in Kansas City, Missouri, at Drury University, according to their website. Pais said fans can look forward to a lot of exciting and special moments to come for the program. 

“It’s an amazing experience and to live this experience as a team,” Pais said. “… It’s just amazing memories, beautiful moments, and of course we want to share all these experience all together so we’re going to do everything to go for it.”

Photo contributed by Jacob Walton

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