SignUp
Play Video
On March 8, the team will host its first home match in the Choice Health and Fitness Center.
UND opens new era of men's tennis
Text smallerText larger
Updated: Wednesday 02/14/2013 16:39:53 (ET)
by UNDsports.com
Send this article to a friend Print RSS Shop

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The UND men's tennis team is set to take the court for the first time since the 1989-1990 season Saturday morning against Drake in Des Moines, Iowa.

UND will begin the season with four matches on the road against nonconference teams. On March 8, the team will host its first home match in the Choice Health and Fitness Center against Big Sky Conference opponent Montana State. 

The addition of men's tennis will benefit both UND and the state by becoming the only university in North Dakota to offer Division I men's tennis.

"It is really good for the state of North Dakota as in the past we have had kids that want to play tennis with good high school programs in the state, but they really had nothing to look forward to afterwards in North Dakota," Head Coach Tom Wynne said.  "We now have a good option to offer for local kids throughout the state and that is really good for us."

The long absence of men's tennis will provide both challenges and opportunities for Wynne and the team. UND was picked to finish last in the Big Sky Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, but the focus and competitive nature of the team may result in more wins than anticipated.

"There will be a lot of that going on (Feeling it out). I think we have a lot of kids that will get disrespected," Wynne said. "Our men's team is predicted to finish last in the conference and probably rightfully so, but I think we have a pretty good and competitive group of guys. I think they have their heads on straight and I think they will be competitive in a lot more matches than the coach's poll indicated."

Another challenge facing the team will be the learning curve that is associated with the Division I skill level and that the team has little experience at the collegiate level.

"We have a few kids that have been away from tennis so that's a problem, but they have their priorities straight. They are good in school and are a little bit older so I think that will help them," Wynne said. "I just think it will be a feeling-it-out process on the men's side. I haven't been around men's tennis in almost 20 years now so I'll be curious to see what the level has to be in order to get there. I am hoping we will be competitive even if we are losing matches."

Although the team is young, Wynne believes that the leadership and experience of several players will be beneficial to the team.

"We have some natural leaders on the men's side. One of the kids with a little more experience would be Ryan McGuigan," said Wynne. "He plays a lot of summer tournaments around here and was actually on our practice team last year. He is our captain and he has the proper attitude towards preparation and getting ready for matches. He will be fun to watch."

Along with the experience of captain Ryan McGuigan (Fargo, N.D.), junior Josh Oothoudt (Minot, N.D.) has played at the Division I level and has had great success in high school.

"Josh Oothoudt actually has Division I experience at Green Bay and will be another kid that will be able to step in and play for us. Oothoudt and Grant Bakke have won state high school tournaments while in high school, so that will help out," Wynne said. "Those kids probably have a little more experience, but I can honestly say we have some good depth. There is not much of a drop off from one to eight on our men's team. That is something I am hoping will bode well for us throughout the year. If our No. 1 guy went out and played our No. 8 guy on any given day and wasn't on top of his game, he could lose."

UND knows the challenges that are ahead, but the team is focused and hopes to surprise opponents with their work ethic and attitude.

"Our motto is going to be "will beats skill" because we will probably be playing kids with more skill level than us. We have a good group of hard working kids though and I think that will translate into some wins," Wynne said.

Volleyball season preview: Part one
Endless Dedication. It's a saying that keeps finding its way into conversations with first-year head coach Mark Pryor about his team. A dedication to tirelessly go at maximum effort and be... MORE
#DayByDay Fall Camp Notebook: No. 14
The physicality of practices that was evident early in fall camp has taken a back seat these last few days to the mental aspect of the game and Tuesday's final two-a-day of fall camp was no... MORE
Ticket availability, Fan Fest set for UND hockey
GRAND FORKS, N.D. The University of North Dakota Athletics Department announced today that single-game tickets for men's and women's hockey will go on sale on Friday, Sept. 12, beginning at 10... MORE
Dufault and Krzyzaniak named to Canadian Development team
Two University of North Dakota women's hockey student-athletes have been named to Canada's National Women's Development Team, Hockey Canada announced Sunday. The team will compete in a three-game... MORE
#DayByDay Fall Camp Notebook: No. 13
For the first time this fall camp, the North Dakota football team had to battle Mother Nature as steady rain fell on the squad during Monday morning's practice at Memorial Stadium. MORE
Head coach Bubba Schweigert throws a pass to freshman cornerback Chris Carter during individual drills on the final two-a-day of fall Tuesday.
The physicality of practices that was evident early in fall camp has taken a back seat these last few days to the mental aspect of the game and...  MORE
Seniors Lexi Robinson (left) and Nikki Husfeldt (right) look to help UND defend its Big Sky title from a season ago.
Endless Dedication. It's a saying that keeps finding its way into conversations with first-year head coach Mark Pryor about his team. A dedication to...  MORE
Single-game tickets go on sale Sept. 12 and Fan Fest is set for Sept. 21.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. The University of North Dakota Athletics Department announced today that single-game tickets for men's and women's hockey will go...  MORE
Freshman Keaton Studsrud fires a pass across the field during skelly drills on
For the first time this fall camp, the North Dakota football team had to battle Mother Nature as steady rain fell on the squad during Monday morning's...  MORE
Halli Krzyzaniak and Meghan Dufault were named to the Canadian National Women's Development Team that will play against the United State in a three-game series, Aug. 21-24. (Photo: James Emery/Hockey Canada Images)
Two University of North Dakota women's hockey student-athletes have been named to Canada's National Women's Development Team, Hockey Canada announced...  MORE

advertisement