TCU is the only school with two freshmen in the lineup starting in the top two positions on the court in the Mountain West Conference Championship.
TCU will play UNLV for the first match of the tournament. The Horned Frogs defeated the Rebels 6-1 April 6 in Las Vegas, Nev.
“Each match brings a different set of circumstances and we’ve got to be ready to play a new match and not be worried about the first time we played them,” head coach David Roditi said.
Past competitions helped prepare the team for the MWC Championship, Roditi said. The men will enter the tournament with an 8-14 overall record and 2-3 in conference play.
The athletes worked on strength and conditioning with assistant coach Todd Kensler to prepare them for three days of tough back-to-back matches, Roditi said.
Freshman Nick Chappell said he thought everyone would play the same opponent as the match earlier this season unless the lineup changed.
“At the end of the day, [the tournament] is just another tennis match,” Roditi said.
Chappell said he knew how to compete against each player at UNLV and was not worried about the match.
Roditi said he told his team to embrace the moment, the pressure and the feeling of competition at the tournament. The Frogs need to play like they have been playing all year, he said.
“Everyone’s pretty pumped up to play,” Chappell said.
Seven Frogs would play in the tournament: Chappell (20-10), freshman Facundo Lugones (12-8), senior Daniel Sanchez (14-14), freshman Will Stein (14-13), sophomore Max Stevens (6-14), junior JT Sundling (12-14) and freshman Blake Wiggins (6-8).
Sanchez said he was confident the team can win the tournament. He said the team would need to focus on how to win each match in order to win the championship.
The first time Sanchez went to the MWC Championship, he was nervous, he said.
“When you see everyone playing, I think you forget about [being nervous] and start playing tennis,” Sanchez said.
Chappell said the older athletes gave advice to the younger athletes about entering the MWC Championship. Each match needed to be treated like a normal match, he said.
“[Sanchez] inspired everyone, whether it is his last match as a senior or first as a freshman, he loves to compete,” Roditi said. “He is a great example for the younger players.”
Sanchez said although he would not be joining the Frogs next year, he was happy the team would have better competition entering the Big 12 Conference.
TCU vs. UNLV
When: Noon, Friday
Where: San Diego, Calif.