Spring Hill College men's and women's tennis coach Hans Laub enters his second year with an optimistic air. "We had a very good fall season this year," says Laub. "We have several new players, especially the freshmen, who will make both teams stronger. I recruit with the idea that the goal is to increase the depth of the team. In college tennis, depth plays a crucial role in the overall success."
Laub believes that the ladies' team has the ability to reach the National Championships held at the Mobile Tennis Center. "Our ladies team has a real chance to improve its record and make the National Tournament," he says. Both teams are led by their seniors with Catherine Thames captaining the ladies and captains Brendan Gallagher and Evan Davis being the leaders on the men's team.
Gallagher and Davis are coming together as a fine doubles team in 2008. "To be honest, neither one of them is a true doubles player." he states. "They kill each other in singles practice, but when they play together in doubles they can compete with the best." Laub also emphasizes the importance of doubles play in college team tennis. "Under the NAIA scoring system, it is important to win all three doubles matches," he remarks. "Of course, you're happy to win two of the three, but if you win all three you have made your job in the rest of the match a lot easier."
As a result, Laub has stressed doubles work in practice since his arrival. "The players thought I was nuts spending so much time on doubles practice," he says. "But I believe in an attacking style of doubles play, especially for the ladies. Last year, we struggled with it, but this year we have improved enough to do it."
Laub approaches his individual play with a different philosophy. He says, "In singles, I teach a conservative style, what is called "high-percentage tennis" and it requires players to have patience. Our players lacked that patience last year, but they matured now and are much more accepting of the idea."
The 2008 schedule is purposely more competitive than previous years. "We're at a stage that we need to play a stronger schedule," Laub comments. "We will play some very good teams in a tournament at Gulf Shores, and this year the University of Mobile has re-started its men's program and has some top players already. I'm looking forward to playing them. (Mobile coach) Uwe Tittl is always a smart strategist and I'm sure he has something planned for us."
Spring Hill's men's tennis team opens the 2008 season versus Huntingdon College on Saturday at the Mobile Tennis Center beginning at noon. The women's team will face the University of Mobile at the MTC on Wednesday, February 20 at 3 p.m.