After nearly having their team eliminated during the fall semester due to financial problems in the athletic department, the Florida A&M University men’s tennis team sits atop the MEAC at 8-0 going into their match tomorrow against South Carolina State.
The eight-member team, composed of two freshmen, three sophomores, two juniors and only one senior, has already defeated a slew of noteworthy opponents this spring including Northern Illinois University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Charleston Southern University.
“It is our freshness that sets this team (apart) from the rest,” said head coach Carl Goodman, a 15-year veteran of FAMU’s tennis program.
“We are young but growing, growing fast. The freshman have stepped up and are lead by two outstanding and experienced captains, Frank Green and Jarrell Williams.”
Green, a junior public relations student from Philadelphia, is on a 16-match winning streak in singles and has only dropped 4 of 19 doubles matches this season along with his partner, sophomore William Mau-asam.
With five matches remaining until the conference championships begin on April 20 in Raleigh, N.C., Green said he is in better shape and more dedicated to the team now than ever before.
“I always had a positive outlook, even through the confusion early this year,” said Green, 21.
“I trained harder, remained committed and success pays off.”
And the Rattler netters don’t only excel between the lines, according to their coach.
“A FAMU male tennis player is a good quality player who is athletic, competitive, has a great choice of character and a good student,” Goodman said.
Many of the players said conditioning the mind as well as the body is essential to the success of an athlete’s performance.
“I am the first to arrive at practice and the last to leave,” said Clifton Malivert, a sophomore criminal justice student.
Co-captain Jarrell Williams, a junior mechanical engineering student from Stone Mountain, Ga., said he prepared himself for the season by putting in extra hours, sometimes up to six hours a day, of conditioning during the summer.
The Rattlers plan to win a conference championship and have a sparkling ring to to show for it.
Along with that goal, some team members have set specific goals for themselves as well.
Green plans to go undefeated in conference play.
Malivert would like to see the team garner a national ranking and ultimately more respect.
Tomorrow the men’s tennis team will look to improve upon their 14-5 record at home at noon versus conference South Carolina State.
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