Dinos no Davenports or Federers

The Dinos tennis team failed to win either the men’s or women’s Western Canadian Tennis Championship titles Sat., Nov. 12, losing to the University of Alberta. The Golden Bears beat the Dinos men six matches to two while the U of A women’s team won six and defaulted three because of an ineligible player. Our lady Dinos only managed one win from co-captain Kelly (Deuces are Wild) Gordon. Jeremy Johnson and captain Eliot (French Twist) Bouvry were the two Dinos men’s winners.

After losing all of their doubles matches, the Dinos put on an impressive display of singles tennis against the Golden Bears and Pandas. The games were close, with some exciting rallies and intense baseline play. When the Dinos did lose, they didn’t go without a fight, or the occasional thrown racket.

Amanda Szpecht, the lady Dinos’ other captain, acknowledged that the U of A’s greater level of match experience gave them an edge.

“I think they’re better clutch players,” said Szpecht of the U of A’s ability to win vital game points. “We had a ton of deuces but we couldn’t close them off.”

Ralph McNiven, the Dinos’ Head Coach who has been with the team for 16 years, felt the results reflected the fact that the U of A has a more developed tennis program. McNiven explained that the U of A has its own on-campus tennis facility and that they compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics league.

Being part of the NAIA allows the Bears and Pandas to play 16 to 20 competitive matches a year while the Dinos only manage about five. In lieu of the Dinos’ relative lack of match experience, McNiven was happy with his players’ performance.

“This is probably the closest we’ve been [to the U of A] in two or three years,” commented McNiven, adding that the Dinos could only improve with more matches under their belts. “I don’t think that they’ve been in that competitive situation enough to know how to cope with it.”

The next chance the Dinos will have to show their stuff is in February when they travel to Washington and Montana to play against American college teams.

“Everyone’s playing really well. There’s a lot of improvement,” said Bouvry of his teammates after the WCTC. Despite their improvement, Bouvry is cautious about the Dinos’ chances against the American players, many of whom are students from overseas on full tennis scholarships. As Bouvry put it, the Dinos’ goal for the next tournaments is simple: “Play our best and have fun.”

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