The Penguins recently rolled the dice when they ventured to Las Vegas to take on Seattle University and Idaho State University at the Darling Tennis Center.
The men’s tennis team went 1-1 on the trip, defeating Seattle on March 25, 6-1, and losing to Idaho on March 26, 6-1.
Mark Klysner, head men’s tennis coach, said he was pleased with the 1-1 result.
“It’s always nice to see how they’re going to perform away from home against unfamiliar competition,” he said.
The Penguins, who are used to playing most of their matches indoors, had to make the transition to outdoor play and deal with the higher temperatures of Las Vegas. They took little time to adjust to the desert climate in their first match, winning all three doubles matches and five of six singles matches against Seattle.
“They came out strong in doubles and didn’t let up, and it rolled over to the singles,” Klysner said.
Klysner, who is familiar with the area, took his guys downtown and showed them the Las Vegas Strip.
“They had some free time away from tennis to kind of explore the city a little, and we ate at some restaurants that you usually wouldn’t get to back home,” he said.
In all, Klysner said he and the team had a good experience. The tournament was well run, he said, and he’s open to the possibility of taking the women’s tennis team to compete next year.
However, upon returning home, the men dropped their match against Cleveland State University, 4-3.
“We didn’t play at the level we are capable of against Cleveland State, who deserves all the credit for playing great,” Klysner said. “We didn’t play our best, and still competed and only lost 4-3.”
The Penguins sit in fourth place in the Horizon League standings, boasting a league record of 1-1 and an overall record of 8-7.
Their lone league win came against the University of Detroit Mercy.
“Beating Detroit right from the get-go of league play was a great start for the team,” Klysner said of the 4-3 victory. “It’s a win that could help set up seeding in the tourney.”
YSU’s next match takes place on Saturday against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who is second in the league standings.
“We’re excited for the weekend,” Klysner said. “Green Bay is the favorite to win the Horizon League, and we need to play our best tennis against them.”
Four of the Penguins’ remaining five matches are against league competitors, which could have implications on their seeding in the conference tournament.
Klysner said the team’s focus is on improving in doubles, which sets up success for singles. He added that he wants to make sure the team feels good and that everyone is healthy.
“We have to peak at the right time and get all six guys to play good on the same day, which is something we’ve yet to do,” he said.
YSU has made the postseason in the past two years, but lost in the first round both times. It’s a trend that Klysner is looking to end this year.
“I want to make it to the semifinals of the conference tourney, and I think we have the players to do it,” Klysner said. “Individually, I’d like to see a couple guys make the all-conference team. I think there’s two or three that are deserving.”