Written by Carter Weissenfluh
The Roanoke men’s tennis team might not be the most well-known sport on campus, but they are off to a hot start in ODAC competition. The Maroons have a record of 4-1 and are tied for fourth place in the conference. When reflecting on the team’s early success, junior Mike Morrell said, “when we saw the preseason rankings where they had us finishing near the bottom, we decided to use that as motivation for every match. We know that what we have to do when we go into each match. After beating Lynchburg last weekend, we really sent a statement to the rest of the conference.” According to Morrell, the team is off to their best start in years, and part of their success is due to the team bonding they have been able to experience despite COVID-19. “The team this year has really bonded more than ever, and although COVID-19 ruined our season last spring, it allowed the team to grow closer throughout the fall. We had team dinners, conditioning, and practices which prepared us for this spring.” On a team where competition is driven solely by individual players and pairings of two players, the team dynamic is different than many other sports. Despite this, Morrell says, the team has been able to bond on a new level, especially after having their last season cut short and being ranked low in the preseason rankings. “With everything that has happened over the past year, it allowed us to really connect with one another on and off the court. After practices and conditioning sessions, we would usually go do some type of team bonding whether it was food or getting drinks with people of age.”
As the season continues, men’s tennis will aim to continue their success thus far and maybe even turn it into playoff succes. In the words of Morrell, “As the season goes on and the weather continues to get nice, we would love to have some more students at our matches, especially if we see Lynchburg again later in the season. Having some students there for that would be awesome”. Be sure to catch Mike Morrell and the rest of the men’s tennis team face off against Randolph-Macon on Saturday, March 27th at the Elizabeth Campus Tennis Complex.
Get to Know Mike:
Hometown: Easton, MD
Favorite Sports Teams: Washington Capitals, New England Patriots
What’s your Chipotle order? “Burrito with chicken, brown rice, black beans, hot salsa, cheese, a little bit of sour cream, lettuce and some guacamole”
What has been your favorite memory of being on the team? “Last year the team and I had the opportunity for spring break to go the Outer Banks for spring break. This was really a great time because there was no tennis. It was just us as a team, relaxing and enjoying spring break on a beach.”