Men's tennis slated to repeat as Horizon League conference champs

By Zak Zevchik

Feb. 4, 2019

The Horizon League preseason poll has selected Cleveland State University Men’s Tennis to repeat as champions of the league.

This is the second straight year that the poll, voted on by the head coaches of the teams in the Horizon League, selected Cleveland State to win. It is also the sixth time the team has been selected to be one of the top-two finishers in the seven seasons the poll has existed.

Men’s tennis head coach Brian Etzkin said that it is nice to be chosen in the preseason poll, but the team is concentrating on smaller, weekly goals to stay focused.

“It’s great to be picked and it kind of gives some credence to how we feel about ourselves because other people see it too,” Etzkin said. “But we are trying to take one week at a time and make each match at the end of each week our goal and try to do little goals rather than worry about if we will be first at the end of the year. If we can handle each week’s goal and work hard each week, then hopefully at the end of the year it will take care of itself.”

Etzkin said that it is nice to get recognition from the opposing head coaches in the league, but that once the teams step on the court, preseason polls don’t matter to anyone.

“It’s nice but I know that once we step on the court, no one is thinking about that poll anymore and they’re all going to try to beat us as badly as they can,” Etzkin said.

The team is coming off a Horizon League championship and trip to the NCAA tournament. Etzkin said his message to the team to stay focused and continue its successful run was to work hard, earn everything, and realize that injuries could happen and Horizon League competitors will get better as the season goes on.

“Number one, we want to work hard every week and take each week as an individual goal. Number two, we talk about how nothing is a given,” Etzkin said. “One injury and it makes things a lot tougher. I know the other teams will get better over the season and someone will step up and try to take us down.”

Etzkin, in his 17th season as the head coach, is trying to coach the team to its seventh Horizon League title and seventh trip to the NCAA tournament.

Since joining Cleveland State as the head coach, Etzkin has posted 13 winning seasons. He said he attributes his success as a coach to his players.

“I attribute it to having good players who work hard,” Etzkin said. “If we have good players who work hard and work to get along with each other, then we have a really good chance for success.”


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