After the completion of a rocky campaign for Texas State tennis, the team looks toward the 2018-19 season as a chance for redemption.
Challenges the team faced came from playing a tougher schedule, one that was deliberately made more difficult by head coach Tory Plunkett.
“I arranged the toughest schedule in the conference,” Plunkett said. “We played the most nationally ranked teams than any other (team) in our conference. My thoughts were if you are going to be the best you play the best.”
With the season over and summer in full swing most players have gone home. For Julia Navajo-Melendez, senior player, spending time away from tennis allows her to re-energize and refocus herself for the grind to come.
“I used to think taking time off from tennis entirely would result in losing skills and being even further behind,” Navajo-Melendez said. “Having the summer break to disconnect from the team is really beneficial. (The players) come back to the courts in August with all the energy and motivation we need for the long season and practices.”
Now having had time to digest the season, the Spanish native is now able to recognize what worked, what didn’t and what needs improvement for the upcoming season.
“Working hard during practice really pays off, and we saw how everybody improved a lot during the fall, specifically the freshmen,” Navajo-Melendez said. “We had such a young team with four freshmen and I think we lacked a little bit of confidence in ourselves. I really think all the players on this team have the potential to do wonderful things for Texas State.”
Alex Jones, senior player, will be taking on the role of student coach in 2018-2019. For Jones, this last season on the court was one filled with highlight moments.
“We had many amazing moments throughout the year, as well as tough ones,” Jones said. “Beating Northridge 4-3 in California was probably the best moment for us, as we lost 3-4 to them the year before.”
The student coach has big plans for the team moving forward, with an eye focused on qualifying for conference play.
“Our main goal next year is going to be to qualify for conference,” Jones said. “We play every team in the conference and only the best qualifies, so that’ll be an enormous goal for us.”
Jones has experienced good and bad times in her two years with Texas State tennis, but ultimately looks forward to her new role. She has the full intention of guiding them toward future victories.
“The team still means a lot to me, as I was with them for two years and went through many ups and downs,” Jones said. “I want them to win even more. I cannot help on the court, but it’ll be with coaching and attitude.”
Despite struggling in 2018 Coach Plunkett has high hopes looking ahead, using this season as a teaching lesson for the team.
“This was a building year,” said Plunkett. “We gained valuable experience for the following years. For the upcoming season we have many positive points to be excited about our future success,