Clay Sidenbender | Echo
Sophomore Christen Jacquottet threw his tennis racquet into the empty bleachers following his one singles match last Saturday. Not every season goes as expected and for the Taylor men's tennis team, their fall season was no exception.
The Trojans ended their season on Sep. 29, losing to Indiana Institute of Technology (Indiana Tech) 8-1. Following their loss, the Trojans also fell to Marian University in the Crossroads League Tournament quarterfinals, 6-1.
"I was hoping we would improve and prepare for the league tournament first round against Marian," Taylor men's tennis head coach Don Taylor said of the expectations going into the Indiana Tech match. "Hopefully, they would get some good experience against good competition that would be beneficial for them going into the first round."
The Trojans were coming in with a four-match losing streak and were looking for their first win since Sept. 19 against Saint Francis.
Jacquottet said the confidence of the team was not very high coming into the Indiana Tech match.
"Usually we go into a match like, 'Yeah, we're going to do our best,' but deep down it's more like, 'Yeah . . . it's going to be hard and we're going to lose again,'" Jacquottet said. "It's hard when you're . . . in a cycle like this where you're already in a losing mentality."
The "losing mentality" clouded the focus of the Trojans as they went on to struggle against an Indiana Tech program with a new coach.
First year men's and women's tennis head coach, Brock Orlowski, said his Indiana Tech team was not concerned with the Trojans record coming into the match.
"Whether we've beaten them in the past or not, we don't pay attention to records in terms if we're going to beat them or not," Orlowski said. "We definitely were focused on coming out and just making sure we did our job. We made sure we were focusing on our goals and we were sticking to the game plan."
With a couple of key doubles wins at the start of the match, Orlowski said he thought his men's team came out fast and accomplished their goal.
The lone Trojans senior, Stephen All, was the only Trojans player to win their match against Indiana Tech. He beat his number three singles opponent, 3-6, 6-2, 10-4. Following the match, Taylor reminded his players that their next match was like the beginning of a new season.
"Results (of the regular season) determine your seating, but other than that it's starting at 0-0 again," Taylor said. "We have to look at it as a new start."
However, the rematch against Marian University did not turn out much different for the Trojans. The only Taylor win was claimed by the one doubles team of Jacquottet and junior Andre Danelli.
Despite how the Trojans ended up this season, Taylor still has hope for his young team going into the spring.
"Our freshmen had to step in and play a starting position," Taylor said. "Two of them played at different positions at singles and two of them played at doubles. There's a number of freshmen that are able to come in and play at our level, but for a majority of freshmen, it's a big adjustment. So, I think one of the biggest things was the inexperience we had."
Taylor also pointed to the low confidence level as a factor for why the team underperformed this season. Taylor said coming into the season with three losses ate at the mentality of players.
The men's tennis team will be back in action this spring season. The schedule has not been finalized yet.