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  • Brian Freiberger

Men’s tennis team resurfaces after 18 years

Sophmore Jacob Richards delivers a return in practice earlier this season/Courtey Photo

The men’s tennis team made its rebirth into Olivet College sports this fall led by tennis coach Andrew DeBruyn, who made his debut during a short four-week season this past September. Fall ball for men’s tennis included three matches against Trine University, Bethel College and Concordia (Wisc.) University.

Olivet went 1-2 overall with two scoreless games back-to-back against Trine and Bethel. The first victory for the young program was against Concordia (Wisc.) with a 6-3 advantage in favor for the Comets.

The last time the Comets suited up for tennis was right before the turn of the century, in 1997. Thomas Kolassa ‘69, a prominent donor and Board of Trustees chair, was a member. Today’s Comets look much different with a new coach and six players – all of which are freshmen.

“I think it’s a challenge having an all-freshman team because everything is new, not only for the players, but for myself included,” DeBruyn said. “Having an all-freshman team is also big for recruiting because being able to come right out of high school and play immediately is a big draw for high school athletes.”

DeBruyn, who attended Spring Arbor University, brings in experience coaching at the high school varsity level, as well as recreational tennis.

The Comets currently split their practice time between The Cutler Event Center and the Minges Creek Athletic Club in Battle Creek. DeBruyn said that there is still a need for tennis courts on campus and acknowledged that the college is working to address the lack of facilities for players to utilize.

“We are trying to build a couple tennis courts, which will be huge for the program in improving our skill and in recruiting,” DeBruyn said.

This spring presents a whole new challenge for the young Comets as they prepare for an upcoming season against strong opponents, conference play and learning to become comfortable as a team.

“Building chemistry will be a necessity for our young team,” DeBruyn said. “The most memorable moment during this fall was getting our first win as a team. It’s a big confidence-booster knowing that we can compete with other teams.”

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