‘One match at a time’: Men’s and women’s tennis gear up for spring matches


Steve Woltmann

DePaul graduate student Marija Jovicic following through on a swing.

As the snow thaws and Spring draws nearer, DePaul men’s and women’s tennis teams are hungry for wins to propel themselves into the Big East Conference this April.

The women started a two week break on March 7, before they travel to Los Angeles to face Loyola Marymount University (LMU) on March 22. The women’s team is having a winning season so far, with a 5-4 record overall.

DePaul senior Marija Jovicic loves the team’s energy.

“I think the team culture is on a very high level, and I think everyone is very motivated this season,” Jovicic said. “This is going to be a good break for us to kind of work on things that we’re kind of maybe missing and can improve on in the previous matches to be at our best.”

The women plan to take this opportunity to hone their skills before their trip to Los Angeles. It will be Spring Break for their LMU match, but the trip will be by no means a vacation.

For first year player Eleanor Nobbs, she’s looking forward to the next match and wants to keep her energy through tough, back and forth sets.

“My [last] match went to a third set, and it was very up and down, but I was proud of how I fought,” Nobbs said.

When she feels drained, she can count on her teammates to keep her motivated.

“All my teammates were cheering and supporting, so that helped a lot,” Nobbs said. “LMU will be a different challenge as well. [The matches will be] outside, and we’ve been playing inside lately.”

Athletes might have certain superstitions or odd rituals before games, and the women have the men beat for keeping things lively and upbeat.

“We’ve done the macarena dance,” Nobbs said. “We did it before Georgetown, and we won seven to zero, so that’s something fun that we do.”

“We’re trying to raise the energy before a match. I think dancing is the best way to do it. Kind of like a warmup,” Jovicic said.

The men’s team traveled to hot and sunny Las Vegas on Thursday to prepare for two matches over the weekend. On Saturday, the Blue Demons played University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), losing 4-3 to UNLV Rebels. On Sunday, DePaul played against Seattle University, where the Blue Demos were victorious 6-1. The Blue Demons swept in singles competition, while fifth year student Luke Wassenaar and sophomore Lars Peder Minsaas won in double competiton.

The DePaul men’s team finished the weekend with a 6-8 overall record. Wassenaar is optimistic about the rest of the season.

“We’re doing pretty good this year. I’m confident in our team,” Wassenaar said. “We’re playing really well.”

While Wassenaar is optimistic about the rest of the season, there are some differences between this year’s team and last year’s. The men’s team boasted a conference title in the 2019-2020 season, the first time the men’s team brought home a title for DePaul.

“We’re getting used to the new formation of the team. A lot of last year’s seniors had graduated, so there are new freshmen we’re working with,” Wassenaar said.

Despite challenges with matching the different energies of the players, the men’s team is playing every game “as if playing in the finals.”

“For the next two matches, we’re approaching it as if we’re playing the Big East,” Wassenaar said. “Coach is getting us used to playing outdoors, with the wind, heat and sun.”

The team is away for several matches before returning to Chicago in April. On April 2, they’ll face Creighton at the XS Tennis Village. The Blue Demons then face off against Marquette on April 3.

In regards to the new facility at S. State St. and E. Garfield Blvd., Wassenaar hopes it gets DePaul students and fans out to see them play.

“We’d love to see fans and Depaul students come check us out,” he said.