Story by Sarah Combs, Sports Editor
The tennis team has added four new players to their freshman-majority 2017 roster.
Twin sisters, Sara and Anja Loncarevic, from Valence, France, will be joining the team on the courts for the spring season.
Since the majority of the team is comprised of international students, training throughout the Winter Break can be a challenge.
Head Coach Jorge Caetano said he doesn’t need to worry about his players returning home for the holidays like most coaches. He makes sure to recruit responsible players who can handle both their classwork alongside their athletic responsibilities.
“The way I coach, I tell them I’m not their babysitter,” Caetano said. “When I’m recruiting them, I want to make sure they understand that.”
Most sports keep their athletes close by during breaks, but Caetano said he trusts his athletes enough to let them travel home and see their family.
“I really trust them, they are very good kids and just want to work hard,” Caetano said. “They came back in really good shape, it’s just a little harder when they go home and everything.”
Sending his athletes home when given the chance is actually a very beneficial part of his coaching style, Caetano said.
“It’s good for them to go home and see their families; it’s so demanding here to be away from home,” Caetano said. “I think it’s important for them to go back there and then come ready to go without thinking, ‘Oh I’m homesick and I need to go home.’ They just come back ready and more excited to play.”
The roster acknowledges the team’s youth this year with lone senior, Alina Schibol, from Hamburg, Germany. The sophomores come in threes with Amina Hadzic, from Esbjerg, Denmark, Jeanne Masson, from Dinard, France, and Hannah Rickard, from Eddyville, Kentucky. The freshmen class outnumbers the rest of the team with five, including Sara Bjork, from Malmo, Sweden, Claire Chang, from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Mesa Trimm, from Paducah, Kentucky, and the Loncarevic sisters. Seven of the nine players on the roster are international students and this is the first year that every athlete on the team is a product of Caetano’s recruiting efforts.