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Women's Tennis Changes Competition Season

By James Trent
On April 25, 2018

Women's Tennis Team
Photo Courtesy of Concord University Athletics

Beginning fall 2018, women’s tennis matches will take place in the spring alongside men’s tennis.

For years, women’s tennis matches have taken place in the fall while men’s tennis matches have taken place in the spring alongside softball and baseball. No other sport at Concord has been divided up by gender in this way, according to the official Mountain Lions schedule. Now, tennis will fall in line with the other sports programs at Concord University.

Head coach for both the men and women’s tennis teams Joe Blankenship is concerned that this might introduce logistical problems. One problem is that Concord has limited athletics facilities, and sharing the facilities the campus currently has may present a problem.

Another difficulty Blankenship mentions is that coaches often drive athletes to matches, and having two teams in the same sport playing at the same time may pose an issue.

“If I’m driving one team to a match in the fall and then a different team to a match in the spring, then that’s not a problem,” Coach Blankenship states. “But if men and women play at the same time at two different locations, we’ll need to get another driver or bus to drive them.” This puts pressure on some of the athletic programs that are already sharing resources with each other. “They’re doing a lot of things that make problems for teams without big budgets,” Coach Blankenship added.

While this change makes Concord tennis conform with other conferences in the nation, previously, men and women were able to exchange need for the courts with the last schedule. Whichever team was currently in their championship season was given priority to use the courts. After the change, there may be scheduling challenges, according to Blankenship. “We were unique for a good reason,” Coach Blankenship said, but he thinks that that may change starting in the fall semester.

Lelia Suydam, a senior on the women’s tennis team, thinks this is a good move for the program. Suydam says, “The majority of other conferences, as well as high school tennis teams, all have spring seasons from my understanding. I believe this will increase attendance for tennis matches because men and women will be in the same season, bringing both crowds together.”   

Updates on all of Concord University’s athletics programs may be found at cumountlions.com. Coach Blankenship may be contacted at tennis@concord.edu. This story will be updated as necessary.

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