By Josh Neuhart
Grace College Sports Information
WINONA LAKE – Grace’s men’s and women’s tennis teams are poised for strong seasons in 2020-21.
Both programs enjoyed successful years last fall and are hoping to ride that momentum into the Crossroads League season in September.
COVID-19 has forced a number of adjustments to the tennis season. The league teams have developed a unique schedule to compensate. Rather than playing one opponent per date, each team will take one two different schools on the same date.
As a result, Grace will play the other eight conference schools over four doubleheader dates this fall, making for a dramatically quick season.
The first doubleheaders of the season are at home for Grace on Saturday. The Lancers (both men and women) will welcome Bethel and Marian to Winona Lake for the first round of dual matches, starting at 8:30 a.m.
Grace is on the road for the remainder of the Crossroads League season, climaxing with the league tournament beginning Sept. 22.
The Lady Lancers set a program record in 2019 with a 7-2 mark in the Crossroads League. Grace lost two key members of its lineup in graduated seniors Emily Mast and Carrie Copeland, but head coach Marcus Moore was confident his team was ready for the challenge.
Moore, the 2019 league Coach of the Year, said: “We have some very talented players, and we have the deepest team since I’ve been involved here at Grace. Our team chemistry will go a long way toward making this season a success.”
Dayana Ortega highlights Grace’s returners, winning All-Crossroads League honors in her first season. She posted a 22-6 record in her first season with the Lady Lancers, including a 12-2 mark in singles.
Juniors Jayna Armstrong and Morgan Mast have been core members of Grace’s lineup since their freshman seasons, and sophomores Gretchen Adams and Rachel Bognar gained valuable experience last year.
Grace picked up two transfers (Lauryn Riegsecker, Kiersten Martin) from Taylor University, who shut down its tennis program in the spring. Moore also brought in three freshmen (Anna Graves, Ellie Hughes, Addy Jarvis) who all have a chance to see time on the court.
The Lancers flourished in 2019-20 with a distinctively international flair. Grace had a 16-6 record last year, including an impressive 7-2 mark in league play.
Max Rozas maintained his reputation as one of the top players in the league, amassing an incredible 36-6 record across fall and spring matches. He was an All-League performer for the second time and also won the ITA Regionals.
Grace’s starting lineup is back in its entirety, giving the Lancers a deep, talented roster.
Pavle Popovic, Fabricio Galvan and Milan Savic are the three seniors on the squad; Popovic has been an All-League honoree for two straight years.
Jacob Gray and Nicolas Graber join Rozas in the junior class, and sophomores Ramiro Candia, Kye Barrett and Mauricio Corty each made an impact in their first seasons.
Additionally, Grace added Argentina native Ivan Antinori and sophomore transfers Francisco Margaria and David Sandi. Margaria played with Grace last spring, and Sandi comes from Taylor University (who closed its tennis program).