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Men’s and women’s tennis teams rolling into April

Story by Chad Mullen, Writer

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Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams swept Hesston College Saturday, marking 11 straight victories for the men, while the women bounced back from two close losses to Kansas Wesleyan and Tabor.

“We kind of expected to be successful coming into the season,” head coach Joe Ahmadian said of the men. “We knew we were going to have a lot of talent.”

One player, Spartak Rahachou, excited Ahmadian in particular, as the team’s No. 1 singles player and ranked fifth in the NAIA individually.

“We thought we were going to have him last year, but he suffered an injury and was unable to play,” Ahmadian said. “We got him a medical redshirt so he could play this year, and he has added to the level of talent we already have.”

Rahachou defeated Hesston College’s Riley Kingsley in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, and also won a doubles match alongside Taylor Ficke, 8-4. All of the Wildcats’ top six men won their single matches in straight sets, while the other three Baker competitors each won their one-set matches. They also swept the doubles matches, to which Ahmadian gives credit to the team chemistry.

“How well the guys get along coupled with how hard they work for each other really spells out a successful season,” Ahmadian said.

The women’s sweep was headed by the Wildcats’ No. 1 player, junior Jaimie Myers. She is the oldest member of the team, with no seniors and no fellow juniors. It has taken time for the team to jell, according to Ahmadian.

“At this point, we are just trying to develop experience,” Ahmadian said. “A lot of the women’s side is just learning how to deal with failure at times, and to get better from their losses. I try to preach to the girls not to have too much of a short-term outlook, to look more at the bigger picture.”

Even with such a young roster on the women’s side, he believes Myers has provided great insight and leadership based on her past experience with the team.

“Her first year, we weren’t all that strong, so she knows how to deal with disappointing losses,” Ahmadian said. “She really gives the other women the right perspective and allows them to move on.”

With the men and women achieving different levels of success, Ahmadian still has the same goals set for each team as they head to the end of the season.

“If we just worry about getting better and fighting for every point we can, there is a good chance the results will come with that focused mindset,” Ahmadian said.

The Wildcats on both sides will host Graceland University at noon Saturday.

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