BUENA VISTA, Va.—The 2013-14 Southern Virginia University men's tennis team looks to contend with opponents during their first season as an NCAA program and as a member of the Capital Athletic Conference. Head coach Tony Caputo is aware of the difficulty of conference play but believes his squad will not go down without a fight.
Caputo shares his outlook for the season:
What did you learn about this team during fall matches and early spring workouts?
I learned that we have a really solid team. We have a nice mix of older players and younger players. We put people together on doubles teams and learned who plays doubles well together.
Brian Blocher and Pradeep Ravisankar are funny guys that keep us loose and yet very competitive. Brian and Pradeep are similar players and they'll be consistent leaders. I expect consistency out of both of them. They are the backboards in tennis, which is to say they are the guys who get the ball back all the time.
What is your viewpoint for doubles partners thus far?
I've got a couple of players back that were here before their missions who give our team a lot of strength, Brennan Alford and Adam Blocher. Zac Bowers and Cooper Brown are two freshmen that know each other well as doubles partners. Dallin Evans generally plays number one doubles with Pradeep Ravisankar. Adam Blocher and Brian Blocher are brothers with great chemistry and may play together on doubles. We're a nice group and we're really strong academically. We're really excited to have new tennis courts and have this new conference and have a bunch of great players back.
What is your outlook for the number one and number two spots?
Generally Pradeep will play as number one and Dallin as number two, but it could change at any time. They are very evenly matched and compete hard to make each other better.
We have brand new tennis courts this year and will have home matches for the first time. How will having home matches benefit the team?
It will benefit us in quite a few ways. We have always had to be the team that travels and gets out of the vans and you're sore after being in those vans for hours, so I think not having to travel every game is going to be a huge benefit. It's also going to be really nice from the academic standpoint because the guys will be able to keep up with their homework much easier. It will also be so nice for our players to have their friends and home fans to be able to come and watch them compete. When you are on the road some of the fans can heckle you and make it really tough to concentrate. For the first time ever they will have people cheering them on.
We're going to play some of the best teams that we've ever played and a number of them are in the top 25 teams nationally. It's going to be the most challenging and competitive tennis that we've ever played. There will be some pretty overwhelming teams we face, but no matter how tough it gets I expect the guys to fight for every point they can get.