The combination of young talent and experienced veterans is something any team desires. The Creighton men’s tennis team has just that — albeit in a more extreme way than most.
Having only freshmen and seniors on the roster, the Jays might be considered unique; but this is no detriment according to coach Tom Lilly. Instead, it’s a source of excitement.
“I cannot wait to see how it all comes together. I know my seniors are ready to lead both on and off the court, and I know my freshmen are ready to compete at this level too,” Lily said.
Lily counts on senior Stratton Brown, the returning No. 2 player from last year, to provide senior leadership.
“Obviously, the way it ended last year we could not control, but this year we have really been working hard trying to get everyone ready to go,” Brown said.
The freshmen have done their part to train hard, each showing their willingness and ability to contribute right away.
“I am counting on all three [freshmen] to play a role this year,” Lily said of his newest additions.
It is the potential of the young group, paired with the experience and poise of the seniors, that has Lily, Brown and the rest of the team setting lofty goals.
“I want us to break into the top half of the conference,” Lily said. “We had a chance last year, and we all know what happened there, but all we can control is this year and the games in front of us.”
His senior leader agrees as he looks forward to his final season.
“We definitely have unfinished business,” Brown said.
The Jays started their season on Feb. 5, with a loss to Northern Illinois. The team was originally scheduled to take on Air Force the following day, but the match was postponed due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19.
The team will be back in action this weekend in Chicago for three matches against Chicago State, DePaul and UIC.