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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Tennis team wins last home match

On Wednesday, beautiful weather graced the tennis courts as the men’s tennis team swept Central College 9-0 at the last home match for seniors Dan LaFountaine ’09, Nate Fox ’09, and Tommy Johnson ’09.

“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” said captain Fox, who has been playing for the last ten years. “It’s sort of nostalgic and it’s exciting at the same time but I know I’m going to miss this place.”

Fox and his fellow seniors will be missed by the rest of the team for their propensity to win as well as their leadership.

“Nate and Dan have been huge for this team,” said Sam Raife ’10. “Not only have they led on the court getting wins in pretty much every match, but they’re always the ones organizing off-court.”

Since their first year, the senior class has won a conference championship every year, a difficult feat that will be hard to replicate.

“We’re losing the two big guns in the lineup,” said Coach Andy Hamilton ’85. “Maybe this is the first time that it’s beginning to set in that they won’t be with us next year.”

Although the Pioneers have suffered some losses, including one to Coe College on April 11, the team (14-8) remains confident heading into the final stretch of the season.

“We really had a tough setback at Coe,” Hamilton said. “So we talked as a team about getting a little more focused and we had a very very good practice on Monday. I want to work through our bump in the road at Coe.”
On Wednesday, that focus and hard work was on display against Central.

“We played very well with the 9-0 victory,” Hamilton said. “We need to pick up our energy level for the final part of the season and charge on.”

Early this season, Hamilton scheduled several ranked teams, such Washington University, in order to prepare his team for that level of competition. He sees that tough schedule paying off now.

“The fact of the matter is we’re now 14-8 and our eight losses have come to very good teams,” Hamilton said. “It’s hard as a Grinnell student to be focused and play well on a class day and quite frankly, this is as well as we’ve played in years on a class day.”

The team still has a few tough matches before conference. This weekend they play Knox and Monmouth for the divisional title and the weekend after that the team travels to Decorah, Iowa to face Luther and Wisconsin Eau-Claire. But as the season draws to a close, the excitement is palpable.

“We’ve had a tough schedule thus far,” Raife said, “especially the last month or so and so everyone is playing really well right now. We’re looking good going into conference play.”

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