Tennis welcomes Truman and McKendree as sports return to QU

Samuele Contestabile completes a forehand shot.

By Michele Barletta

In a time where the only sports matches on campus are intra-squad scrimmages, QU men’s and women’s tennis have been lucky enough to face both Truman State and Mckendree University this fall.

Other college teams on campus and around the country haven’t been as lucky as they do their best to abide by COVID-19 protocol and NCAA guidelines.

The men’s team has enjoyed matches against Mckendree University while the women’s team has played against both Truman State and Mckendree this semester.

Men’s tennis player Samuele Contestabile, says he and the rest of team have been grateful that they have been able to continue to practice and even play matches this semester.

“It’s honestly great, I didn’t expect to come here and practice as much as we have,” Contestabile said. “It feels really good to play and compete and also be one out of the few teams being able to practice.”

There is no contact in tennis, which would explain why they have been able to practice and play with some degree of normality. While other sports teams find themselves facing challenges having to abide by the different regulations put in place to keep student-athletes safe.

Women’s tennis player Nicole Lao says that due to the nature of the sport, it was expected that the tennis team would be able to at least practice this semester.

“Tennis is a very low contact sport, so it’s no surprise that we are able to play compared to other sports,” Lao said.

Like everyone else, the tennis team has had to adjust to a number of new guidelines both on and off the field. QU has implemented a number of rules on campus in order to keep students safe and fight the spread of COVID-19 both on campus and in our community.

“Life on campus has been hard with all the new COVID-19 restrictions, especially since we cannot visit each other in our dorm rooms,” Lao said.

New head coach, Ethan Arns has won over the trust and support of the tennis team in his first semester in charge, as the players feel he has their best interests at heart by trying to keep them safe and help them continue to develop on and off the court.

“The team really likes our new coach because he’s mindful of trying to keep everyone safe during the COVID situation, and still finding ways to schedule matches with other schools and coaches,” Lao said.

“Coach Ethan and Laura (Gutierrez, Graduate Assistant coach) have done amazing jobs to make sure we followed the rules so that we could practice,” Contestabile said.

“Obviously we are very happy to play since we understand that we are very lucky to do so,” Contestabile said.

The Hawks are hopeful of their season going ahead as planned in the spring and are looking forward to competing once again.

“I can’t wait for next season,” Contestabile said. “It’s my junior year so I would love to do well and maybe even reach conference, we are working well and we have all the capabilities to make conference and compete at very high levels.”

It’s another chance at a competitive season for the tennis team after COVID-19 forced the NCAA to cancel all sports last spring.

“I’m excited for another year of competitive tennis because last year we didn’t get the chance to finish our season,” Lao said.

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