Senior Rise Lanne reflects on GSU’s season

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Derik Wuchte

It requires extensive effort and endurance to turn a program around. The judge of a team’s success can be evaluated on many different scales. If it comes down to regular season wins, men’s tennis has nearly doubled their win count from last season. They are 15-5 and looking ahead to their final two matches of the 2015-2016 season. No matter the final result in the Sun Belt Championship, the Eagles have put together a solid season and will have a lot of momentum moving towards the future.

Senior Ristomatti Lanne has been with the team these last two seasons. He and Head Coach Sander Koning have played significant roles in reimaging men’s tennis. As the No. 1 spot player for the Eagles for both years, Lanne has been able to see how the team has evolved and gotten to where they are today.

“I think the biggest difference is, last spring, we had to practice hard to get to the fitness level that Coach wanted us to be,” Lanne said. “With these players we have now, we had the fall to do that work. Now, we could focus on winning matches and playing matches.”

Establishing a tradition of winning is no easy feat. It isn’t a two season process. It is an ongoing cycle of being able to win and being familiar with winning. To continue the type of success men’s tennis has had this season, Lanne knows future Eagles will need to be sharp and ready.

“I think keep working hard and improving because improvement: that ends the satisfaction,” Lanne said. “To be satisfied to the level that we are now. The players need to keep practicing, keep improving and not be happy with what they have now. Just keep striving to be better.

Lanne is the only senior on the singles side for men’s tennis. That said, it has still been his job to head the team at the No. 1 position for the last two seasons. He will still have a fall semester to practice with the team before graduating, but this will be his last opportunity to win with the team this season.

There will be a lot for him to part with his teammates before those final days. But he has an idea of what he will tell them before then.

“For me, I would say to pay attention to small details,” Lanne said. “When you pay attention to that kind of titigular stuff, you’re focused. And then, that goes to practice. That goes to matches. When you’re really focused, you should improve. You should get results. And, obviously, enjoy what you’re doing because it’s a privilege to play college sports. That’s what we get to do every day. We don’t have to work. We get to spend our days on tennis courts and at the gym. We don’t have to go work as a waiter or whatever. We get to do stuff we like to do.”

There is a lot left in the season with the upcoming two matches and championship. Men’s tennis will a lot riding on their postseason performance in two weeks.

“When we play Georgia State and App State, big rival teams, we want to see people come out,” Lanne said. “That’s our senior day and also our GATA game. It would be nice to have a lot of support because those matches are probably our top two toughest matches of the season. That support is definitely needed for those two.”

This Friday, Apr. 15, Southern will compete against Georgia State at home at 3 p.m. That following Saturday, Apr. 16 will be the team’s final regular season competition against Appalachian State. That match will be at 2 p.m. After those two matches, the Sun Belt Championship will be inbound that weekend of April 21 to April 24.