Van Emburgh looks back at 1st Wisconsin season

first_imgAll signs point to the Badgers’ season coming to a close this weekend, but that hasn’t stopped UW men’s tennis coach Greg Van Emburgh from showing optimism in his program.”It’s been a fun first year for me, getting these guys kind of in a different direction, a different mindset,” Van Emburgh said at a press conference Monday. “The main thing you want is when they’re out there to really lay it on the line for you, and they’ve done that, whether we’ve won or lost.”Wisconsin (10-11, 3-7) finished the year with a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Ohio State, but Nolan Polley earned the Badgers’ sole point in impressive fashion, knocking off No. 38 Bryan Koniecko while surrendering just five games.Polley finished the conference season at 8-2 and, along with No. 1 player Jeremy Sonkin, earned the praise of his head coach for a season well done.”Those guys have really tried their butts off to get wins and competed hard,” Van Emburgh said. “That’s the important thing, and I think in the long term, that’s going to pay off for us. If it’s not right now this year, it’s in the years to come.”According to Van Emburgh, Polley and Sonkin won’t be alone in trying to restore UW’s program to one of success.”We’ve also added some new players for next year, signed some top recruits,” Van Emburgh said. “So we’re excited about it, and I feel like the program’s headed in the right direction and [is] on the rise.”Wisconsin finished 3-7, which is more wins than it’s earned in any of the past four seasons. But Van Emburgh, in the offseason, was hired to turn the Badgers around, and he felt that his squad could have come up with an even better record, what with matches like the narrow 4-3 loss to Illinois.”It came down to really one set. If we win one of those sets, we get a big upset with them, which would have obviously been nice, since they’ve been in the top tier at the national level,” Van Emburgh said.If the Badgers want to continue on to the NCAA tournament — one of Van Emburgh’s preseason goals — they’ll have to win out at the Big Ten Championships this weekend in Minneapolis, Van Emburgh says. But doing so would require Wisconsin to take out the Buckeyes (provided UW defeats Purdue in the first round), an undeniably tall task for such a young team.”They’re really good. They’re just really strong throughout their lineup,” Van Emburgh said. “They won the conference outright. They went 10-0. Their lineup is just really, really strong and really deep, so they’ve done a great job there. So hopefully we can get through Purdue again and give them another shot.”last_img

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