Tennis team looks to serve up a winning season

Mikhael Tomlinson

Looking to capitalize on the momentum from last year’s winning 19-12 season, Coach of Georgia Southern’s Men’s Tennis team, Sander Koning, is optimistic the Eagles will not only perform well in conference play, but in the schedule as a whole.

In his third full season at Georgia Southern, Koning has earned an overall record of 40-31, according to the Georgia Southern Men’s Tennis page.

When asked what has led to his success as a coach at Georgia Southern, Koning responded, “You have to have the right guys. I was fortunate enough that the coach before me recruited really good guys and when I came in they (the players) responded to what I wanted to do; what I think is the way to play the game.”

Despite two winning seasons as head coach, Koning has struggled to fair as well in the Sun Belt, with an overall record of 3-9 and a 2-2 record last season.

Last season the Eagles fell to Troy and 37th ranked Georgia State in conference play. This season the Eagles will square off with the same Sun Belt opponents they faced last season, including Coastal Carolina, Troy, Appalachian State, and Georgia State.

When asked how the Eagles will match up in conference play, Koning stated, “We have a lot of starters that came back, five out of six… that’s always a good thing to have and the good thing is that now we have a little more experience than we had last year that should work in our favor.”

One of those starters includes senior, Eddie Landin.

Landin spent the majority of the 2017 season as the number 1 position player in singles play, racking up nine wins last season. The expectations for the 2018 campaign for the senior are just as high as Koning, as Landin stated, “My expectations are to have a better winning record. Our mind is on [the] conference and we want to win it.”

Last year the Eagles made it to the semifinals of the Sun Belt conference tournament and fell 4-3 to South Alabama.

Due to the returning five starters, Landin believes the experience the team gained last year in conference play and the Sun Belt tournament will help yield a different result in 2018.

The 2018 campaign began with a 0-3 start for the Eagles, with losses to Mercer University, the Air Force Academy, and the University of the Incarnate Word.

The Eagles have 15 matches before the Sun Belt opener against Coastal Carolina. The current schedule is not easy, but Koning believes the schedule will prepare the Eagles for the conference tournament in April 2018.

Looking to bounce back on the road, the Eagles will take on the University of Miami, on February 2, 2018, and Florida Gulf Coast University on February 3, 2018. The Eagles’ next home match will be Saturday, March 3, 2018, against Presbyterian College.