Northwest men’s and women’s tennis opens its season with an indoor match against Maryville University in Red Oak, Iowa, Feb. 22.
Not to be confused with Maryville, Missouri, Maryville University is located in West St. Louis. Both the Bearcats and Saints will travel to Red Oak to open the indoor season.
“We’re excited about playing up at Red Oak,” coach Mark Rosewell said of the indoor courts. “They really give us a good home away from home up there to play early indoor matches … it’s a wonderful facility for a little town to have like that.”
With the addition of the Hughes Fieldhouse to Northwest’s campus, all sports have been able to maximize use out of it. Both tennis teams have been able to prepare for the upcoming matches on similar playing surfaces.
“It’s been good with the facility (Hughes Fieldhouse); it makes all the difference in the word,” Rosewell said. “We’re getting a lot of good quality time on courts that are similar to what we are going to be playing on .”
In preparations for the match, Rosewell noticed Maryville played Drury, who was No. 2 in the region and No. 9 in the country at one point last year, close in a 5-4 loss.
This will be the men’s first meeting with the Saints in program history, while the women will play them for the first time since 2017.
“The men’s program is new, I think it’s maybe their second or third year, and we’ve only played their women’s team one time,” Rosewell said. “We don’t know a great deal about them, so this is a good matchup for us.”
Sophomore Franco Oliva is coming off of a third-place finish in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Cup in the fall. Now taking his skills indoors, Rosewell explained the indoor season eliminates the natural elements and is an adjustment for the players.
“It’s a big deal as far as the surface you’re playing on,” Rosewell said. “When you’re playing outside you have the wind, you’ve got the sun, and you have all these elements that you don’t have indoors, so it’s a really different type of a game. It is an adjustment.”
While the men’s team is led by two seniors, the women’s team lacks a senior player. The women’s roster is dominated by juniors including Tania Teruel, who was an MIAA Honorable Mention at the No. 1 position in doubles.
“We want to play as well as we can and keep getting better,” Rosewell said. “We really have young teams, but I think we are talented teams too, and I think we’ll be a better team by May than we are now.”
In Rosewell’s tenure at the helm for the Bearcats, he has collected 26 regular season MIAA championships (12 women’s, 14 men’s), nine MIAA Tournament Championships (eight men’s, one women’s) and 37 NCAA Tournament appearances (20 men’s, 17 women’s).
After a disappointing 2018 season, Rosewell explained his goal for this year is to return to the postseason for both of his squads.
“Our goal for both teams is to always make the postseason,” Rosewell said. “If you look at our stats we do that most of the time. So that would be our goal this year.”