The Florida A&M University’s men’s tennis team feels confident about making it to this year’s Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference championship with a current season record of (11-5).
The team was previously ranked no. 1 in the MEAC for the 2008 season. The team’s ranking this year depends on the results of their match against no. 2 ranked, South Carolina State University.
“South Carolina State is our biggest rival in the conference,” said Paul Paige, 22, senior business administration student from Philadelphia, .
“I’ve been on the team for four years. The past three years, we’ve placed no. 2 in the championship,” said Paige. Paige said each year, the team gets better in strength and experience.
Before each match, the players set individual goals to get them through the game.
“The most important thing for me to remember during a game is to stay positive, remember my motion points, and to go hard,” said Joshua Cameron, 18-year-old, Engineering student from Boston, Mass. and only freshman on the team.
“The toughest game so far this season has been against Troy State University,” said Cameron.
The team loss to Troy this past Sunday in two matches. Cameron said the game was tough because both teams were evenly matched. “I’ve been playing tennis since I was five, and this has definitely been a good season so far, but it’ll be better once winning the championship,” said Cameron.
The coaches motivate the team everyday. After every win, the team is rewarded with feedback. Players said it is important not to let winning a match get to their heads.
The teammates said they pray and chant before each game to keep them hyped.
“If we keep doing what we’re doing, we are going to win the championship,” said Mark Atkinson, 20, sophomore health care student from Jacksonville,. Atkinson said he’s nevernervous before a game, but is always anxious.
Atkinson said he and his 7 other teammates are and overall strong team. “We have heart and the will to keep fighting during a match,” said Atkinson.
With the team motto, “We Ready”, the team has practiced hard and is certain they will come out victorious when they make it to the championship.
“We’re going to show other teams who we are…we’re the best,” said Atkinson. The team is currently undefeated at home.
The Rattlers took on South Carolina A&T on Tuesday March 31 in a conference match.
The Rattlers lost in a well fought battle finishing the match with a final score of 5-2.
Some players feel as though they have to work on coming out stronger on the court.
“We started out slow which, had an impact on the way we ended,” Paige said.
Their next match is against Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona, Fla.