Hard working Hawks have high expectations entering tennis season

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Huntingdon men's tennis coach Charlie Lane is impressed with the work ethic his team has shown in the preseason.

"This is the hardest working team I've had at Huntingdon," Lane said. "The guys are working hard and we're in better condition that we were last year. This is a dedicated group and we're excited to get the season started."

The Hawks open the season on Sunday at home at the newly refurbished Gibbs Tennis Complex. Huntingdon plays Mississippi College at 1 p.m.

"It's going to be great to get out there on Sunday," Lane said. "We're excited about the new facilities and we're very grateful to George Gibbs for making it possible.

"Mississippi College will be the first of several tough non-conference matches we're playing that will help us get ready for conference."

The Hawks are coming off a regular-season Great South Athletic Conference championship and a runner-up finish in the GSAC tournament.

"That's motivating us. We all want to do better than last year," senior Sean Jackson said of losing in the tournament finals. "I think we have a good combination of experienced players and freshmen this season. This team has talent and we expect to compete and play for the conference title this season."

The men have been in the GSAC finals four straight seasons, winning the conference tournament in 2008 and 2009. Last season, Lane was named GSAC Coach of the Year and Tyler Creamer was named GSAC Freshman of the Year. Huntingdon also returns All-Conference performers in Jackson and Larry Pritchett. In all, five players with experience return. The remainder of the squad is made up of four freshmen.

"We felt like we let one get away last year," Lane said. "The guys are determined to do their best to prevent that from happening again. We feel like we have a team that can compete for the conference title. From top to bottom, we feel like we have a better team this year than we did last year."