By Greg Collins, senior
The Friends University men’s and women’s tennis teams look to ace their opening matches against Emporia State University on Feb. 25 at home on Forrest C. Lattner Courts south of Adair-Austin Stadium.
Darrin Rasmussen will enter his second season as head coach of both programs. Before becoming head coach, Rasmussen came to Friends as an assistant after playing for Friends in 2005-2009.
Throughout his collegiate play, he received first team All-Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference honors in 2007, 2008 and 2009 as well as being dubbed an NAIA All-American in 2008 and 2009.
“From player to coach, he has been an excellent leader to all of the players and a personal role model of mine,” said Cory Cockrell, senior.
In Rasmussen’s first season his men’s team compiled a 4-10 record and 4-2 in conference matches. The men‘s team finished the season at third place in the KCAC.
The team consists of three seniors: Billy Bloomquist, selected KCAC first team all-conference in 2011, Cory Cockrell and Brad Harting; one junior David Alley; three sophomores, Eric Berner, Zach Stein and Patrick Trollman; and one freshman, Rodrigo Tresierra. Five out of the team’s eight matches will be at home.
The women’s team held a 2-8 record and 2-4 in conference play in 2011. The Lady Falcons finished the season in fifth place.
The women’s team is made up of four seniors: Sarah Berry, Samantha Hutson, Sara McVay and Kassie Welch; three juniors, Stephanie Curtis, Elly Johnson and Katie Lepping; one sophomore, Katy O’Reilly; and four freshmen, Lauren Diec, Edna Hernandez, Kelsey Jones and Tori Lembki.
“We were a young team last year, mostly all juniors and a couple sophomores,” Sara McVay said. “This is our year.”