Up until Jan. 31, the Ragin’ Cajuns men’s tennis team had zero wins this season. Following that January game, the team had three weeks of canceled games, leaving them ample practice time.
Unfortunately, after this long break away from the court, Louisiana was unable to capitalize on that practice time. They lost to Rice on Feb. 27 with a score of 4-0.
But why can’t the Cajuns team seem to find their footing? Last season before COVID struck, the squad was 13-3 and showing no signs of losing any time soon. So what’s different this year?
Well, it’s not that the team isn’t talented, because the roster is full of great tennis players. Nevertheless, with a big chunk of the roster classified as freshman and sophomores, they just need to start feeling more confident and comfortable playing at a college level. Wins come with experience.
The issue is also not with the coaches. In fact, head coach Mark Jeffrey is in his 13th season with men’s tennis and ranks as the second most winning Ragin’ Cajuns tennis coach in history. With his coaching expertise, the Cajuns successfully had one of the best-recruiting classes in the past several years.
In fact, the coaching staff was one of the main reasons why Karlo Kajin chose to become a Ragin’ Cajun. “I chose to become a Cajun after I met some coaches from the school. They represented to me everything about the school and I thought this is a great opportunity for my future,” Kajin said.
Kacper Dworak had similar thoughts. “Out of all the schools that I had offers from, Louisiana’s coaching staff were the most friendly and caring,” Dworak said.
But something that could be an issue is a lack of consistency. To secure the win, every player competing in matches for the day, whether singles or doubles, has to be 100% on their game. If some players get match victories, but the majority don’t, the team will ultimately lose the game.
Still, the Ragin’ Cajuns aren’t getting blown out every loss. For example, in their matchup with Middle Tennessee, Louisiana actually had two victories, but as previously stated those two were not enough to get the whole team a win.
Another thing that could help establish more wins is finding better doubles team pairings. The players should work together in practice to see which pair of guys mesh and play well together, so Louisiana can start getting more doubles wins.
Louisiana is a great team, however, they need to start doing some things differently in order to start winning matches. That can mean more practice time, even outside of coach-sanctioned practices. It could also be about the players getting more in the mental mindset of winning. If you believe it, you can achieve it and I believe the men’s tennis team can get back on track.