Hard losses, big names and mental breakdowns has been the storyline for the Dixie State University tennis team.
The team competed at the Grand Canyon Tournament in Phoenix, which was held Feb. 14-18. Dixie lost all six of its team matches, but the players aren’t hanging their heads.
“It was a learning experience for our team to see what the top players in the conference are like,” said Sierra Smith, a sophomore elementary education major from Denton, Texas. “[We wanted to see] how we measured up against them since we have a young team.”
Dixie played against three of the top 15 nationally ranked teams during the tournament.
“It’s tough to play against those teams that are that good,” head coach Eric Pelton said. “It shows them where they need to be to compete. It was an eyeopening experience for them. They are young, but they are learning.”
Pelton and team members all agreed that mental breakdowns contributed to the losses.
“There were a lot of mental roadblocks,” Smith said. “We would get up in a game or set but just didn’t have the confidence or mental aspect to finish it out.”
Joy Naigeon, a sophomore business major from Boit, France, said she would be leading many of her games 40-30 or 40-15 but couldn’t hold on to win the game.
“It was frustrating, but it was a good experience,” she said.
The team has a break from competition until it hosts the Dixie State Invitational March 7-12 on campus at the Bell Courts.
Dixie will compete against Colorado Mesa University on Thursday at 3:30 p.m., Academy of Art University on Friday at 3:30 p.m., and Weber State University on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Pelton said the players are confident they can be more successful in this tournament than the last one. He said the women just need to learn how to win two points in a row.
“They can get to deuce almost every game, but it’s being able to win those last two points that determines who wins,” Pelton said. “We don’t have any major issues. It’s not that they can’t compete with [the top teams], it’s just that they lack the experience to win the big points.”