Youth shows strength for struggling men’s tennis team


SDSU has faded since a strong early start but will try to finish the 2011 campaign strong.

The Jackrabbit men’s tennis team has started to turn some corners on the Division I stage.

Spring season play started out over spring break, where the team played in the Orlando Classic. In Florida, the Jacks posted a 5-3 overall record, with strong showings from sophomore James Thorp and freshman Chris Baron.

There is an international feel to the team this year. Freshman Carl Lundberg hails from Stockholm, Sweden, while Baron is a native of Canada. Thorp is the newest product from Australia, joining fellow Australian teammates Jamie Dash and Dominic Rossetto.

SDSU looked good coming back from Orlando, but a tough conference schedule was looming on the calendar.

Starting March 19, the Jackrabbits faced six conference opponents in a matter of 10 days. The team faced Oral Roberts and host UMKC in Kansas City, Mo., from March 19-20, then traveled to Macomb, Ill., last weekend, where they faced Centenary, IUPUI and Western Illinois.

The results weren’t pretty, as the Jacks combined to go 1-5 in that 10-day span. The only victory came against Centenary, with junior Justin Pyle picking up a win in singles, while Dash and Lundberg teamed up for a doubles victory.

The spring conference season is a short one, especially for the Jacks. Most teams in the Summit League have three more conference matches, while SDSU is finished with conference play.

The top doubles pair for the Jackrabbits has been Lundberg and Thorp, with a record of 7-5. Lundberg has posted the top singles record at 10-4 on the year.

Even after rough showings in Kansas City and Macomb, the team still stands at 8-9 overall. With the upcoming weekend off, the Jacks turn their sights west in search of a winning record. From April 7-9, SDSU will make stops at three Colorado schools: Air Force, Northern Colorado, and Metro State.

The team has plenty of youth this year, with Jeff Hughes as the only senior on SDSU’s squad. While conference play may not have panned out how the Jacks had hoped, SDSU has shown improvement from last fall. With a wealth of international talent just starting to get their feet wet at the collegiate level, the future looks bright for Jackrabbit tennis.

The spring season will wrap up with a home match against St. Cloud State on April 29 at 1 p.m., with an Alumni day planned for April 30.