Two seniors will be honored Saturday as TCU competes against New Mexico for the last regular season match the Horned Frogs will play in the Mountain West Conference.
Daniel Sanchez and Paul Chappell were spark plugs to the team when it came to motivating fellow players, head coach David Roditi said. They also brought energy by exciting the crowd, he said.
Sanchez was a crowd favorite because of his intensity and passion for the game, Roditi said. Despite two knee surgeries during his college career, Sanchez fired up his teammates by yelling school cheers on-court during matches.
Sanchez earned 30 victories for the Frogs this season, 13 of which came from singles matches.
Sanchez, originally from Monterrey, Mexico, is expected to graduate in December and said he intended to use his bilingual skills to help financial companies who work in both Mexico and the United States. As for tennis, Sanchez said he expected to continue playing the sport but on a more recreational level.
“I’m not retiring,” Sanchez said. “I love the game too much. I’ll still be out there about twice a week.”
Chappell, meanwhile, has played a critical role in doubles over the course of his career, Roditi said.
Chappell played a part in the 2010 Mountain West Conference tournament in which he clinched a semifinals victory for TCU with a doubles win over top-seeded BYU. TCU went on to win the tournament that year.
Off the court, Chappell sports one of the highest GPAs on the team and has been accepted to many law schools, Roditi said.
“He’s our best student,” Roditi said. “He’s a GPA booster, not a buster. So many law schools are interested in him, and I would never want to face him in a courtroom.”
Chappell was unavailable for comment.
Roditi said he considered New Mexico to be the biggest rival for TCU in the Mountain West. He said the biggest disadvantage the Horned Frogs had against the Lobos was the strong team chemistry New Mexico possessed.
“For us, this is our first real year of playing together,” Roditi said. “For them, they know each other. Their doubles teams have played together often; they all know each other well.”
Roditi said although TCU had a challenge ahead of it, momentum would be in the Frogs’ favor. TCU is on a two-match winning streak after shutting out both Air Force and SMU, the first multiple-match win streak the Horned Frogs have had since February.
New Mexico (16-7), ranked 67th in the nation, has won nine out of its last 12 regular season matches. Its lineup features players such as senior Carl Ho, who was recently named a Mountain West Player of the Week.