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Second-year head coach Casey Carr and the Lakeland College men's tennis team is eager to take the court after spending the last two months preparing for its 2012 campaign.
After struggling last season with a 2-9 overall record, the Muskies are ready to restore Lakeland to its winning ways.
The Muskies were tabbed to finished seventh in the Northern Athletics Conference with 40 points. Carr is optimistic about this year and is certain that the team's loyalty and commitment is as strong as any other NAC team.
The team hopes to improve from last year, not only as a team, but individually.
"We have a good portion of guys that are returning from last year," said Carr. "I think that experience will help calm some nerves, resulting in more victories and closer matches."
Lakeland returns seniors Andy Cheever, Kazuya Hosokowa, Kodai Miyamoto and Yu Sasaki, and junior Brandon Robinson. Senior Hidenori Sawada, sophomore Farouk Dadzie and freshman Paul Elzinga join a team that hopes to turn heads in NAC competition.
"We have quite a few international students that haven't had a lot of competitive tennis experience," said Carr. "Tennis is a psychological game and I am hoping that the experience they earned last year will carry over into this season."
Elzinga is expected to make an immediate impact on the team and will compete at No. 1 singles this season.
"Paul is a natural athlete that has a good knowledge of the game," said Carr. "He hits with a lot of power and has what it takes win the conference championship and help us accomplish our goals."
The Muskies open play on April 11 at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. The 2012 NAC Tournament takes place April 30 and May 4, with the tournament champion earning the conference's automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA III Championship Tournament. The top six teams from the regular season conference standings qualify for the NAC Tournament.