(Posted May 3, 2013)

The Juniata's Men Tennis team vastly improved to have a outstanding 13 wins and seven losses.

The Juniata's Men Tennis team vastly improved to have a outstanding 13 wins and seven losses.

The men's tennis program at Juniata is quickly gaining attention, as the men just finished their spring season with a 13 to 7 record. Amid a year of rejuvenation, the team qualified for conference playoffs and placed three players on the Landmark All Conference team. Head coach Jason Cohen and assistant coach, Juniata alum, Ryan Navarro, led this record setting squad. Navarro weighed in on why the team climbed to new heights in 2013.

Q: Can you explain your role with the tennis program? When and why did you start coaching here and what are your responsibilities during the season?

A: I started in the fall as an assistant coach for the men's and women's team to help with facilitating practices and matches. I was on the men's team as a student from 2006 to 2009, so it was nice to have the opportunity to come back.

Q: Coming into the season, did you expect to have this type of success? What was different this year when compared to past years?

A: Before returning to campus I had heard very good things about the direction that the teams were headed, so it was not surprising to see them doing well this season. Coach Jason Cohen has a deep understanding of the technical aspects of the game and knows what it takes to succeed at the Division III level. Juniata tennis has always attracted well rounded students that are focused on high academic achievement. What has changed is that there is more of a commitment to fitness off the court and a visibly supportive atmosphere among the players that has been lacking in the past.

Q: Can you look back and define one moment as the highlight of the season? If not, can you touch on a few instances that were memorable?

A: The highlight of the season was perhaps the day that both teams defeated Moravian College in an away match. Moravian has been a tough opponent in tennis for Juniata since the beginning of the Landmark Conference. Every player, especially the freshmen, stepped up their games under pressure and the wins gave us a good shot at making the playoffs.

Q: Brice Morey collected 19 wins this season, giving him a 19 to 3 record this year and a 45 to 25 career record. Why did Brice have this success? How will the team be affected by this loss?

A: Brice is the type of player that coaches can rely on during big matches. His solid record reflects his steady playing style, in which he fights for every point and is willing to stay on the court for as long as it takes to pull out a win. Brice will be missed by the team as a player and as a leader.

Q: Do you believe this team can continue to build off of this season? Why?

A: Juniata tennis has a bright future as long as things keep heading in the current direction. The most important thing for these student-athletes is to continually focus on improving their games, which will result in better records going forward. They can achieve great things as long as they have confidence in their abilities and are willing to put in the effort it takes to compete with the best in the conference.

Seth Ruggerio '14, Juniata Online Journalist

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