With the 2018-19 tennis season bringing prosperous postseason finishes for both the Northwest men's and women's teams, the 2019 fall season is geared towards perfecting and strengthening both individual and team efforts for a lasting postseason run.
“I think we have a good lineup on the women's side and actually on the men's side too,” coach Mark Rosewell said. “We have a lot of players back which is always a good thing experience wise. We do have some new players that we don't know much about, but we’ll learn more about them through challenge matches and competition.”
While last season’s postseason run took the Northwest women's team (20-7) to the NCAA quarterfinals in Altamonte Springs, Florida, future successful seasons are the priority of Rosewell and both teams. Despite last year's season ending with the Bearcats being shutout against the University of Indianapolis, the push to better themselves and their skills is the driving factor to get back to that stage and win the national quarterfinals.
The 2019 spring season brought Northwest its first 20-win season since 2008 accompanied with a trip to the national quarterfinals.
“I think the nucleus is good, and if you can keep your players healthy, then you always have a good chance,” Rosewell said. “We have a new assistant coach, Tanner (Lantz), who is a former Bearcat who played here a couple of years ago. He already knows how the program is going and what I'm after. We’re all excited, and we like our teams, both men and women.”
While the athletes are the main reason the tennis team has been so successful in years past, updated facilities and promises for future developments also play a key role in the training and competition of the team. One of the most recent examples of this is the dedication of the Mark Rosewell Tennis Center in April.
“As far as tennis is concerned here at Northwest, there has really been some great things that have happened for the program,” Rosewell said. “Within the last two years, we’ve had our outdoor courts renovated and two more courts added. Facilities wise, we’re in good shape, and it’s quite noticeable each day.”
With donations being used to upgrade and give the team facilities and resources it needs, the team has also seen an increase in attention from fans within the Northwest community.
While Northwest is known for its winning football and basketball teams year in and year out, the tennis team is one of the most consistent athletic teams on campus in terms of postseason runs and winning seasons.
“People are naturally going to go to spectator sports,” Rosewell said. “I’m not sure people realize sometimes what kind of level that we play here because it is an outstanding level. Would we like more people out there watching our matches sometimes? Sure. But it could be less people. We’re very happy that we have our teams here at Northwest.”
As the team prepares for the Central Region Doubles Tournament in Topeka, Kansas, Sept. 10, they look forward to adding another winning season to their program statistics. With many returners and a few young and developing players competing for the Bearcats, the ability to further their postseason run becomes more achievable.