Finding the right lineup is critical to success for any team. In college tennis, it may be even more so. Although a team can secure a point by winning two of three doubles matches, six of seven points are determined in singles.
Thus, setting the top six has been UNO coach Mike Saniuk's biggest decision of the week. Fortunately he doesn't spend too much time or energy mulling over the lineup for his women's team.
Tennis coach Mike Saniuk says lengthy trips away from home offer mixed blessings. In some situations, being around one another on a day-by-day basis allows for bonding and team building.
After picking up wins in each of their previous matches, UNO men's and women's tennis both lost last week at the Hanscom Brandeis Tennis Center. Both teams now face a tough road slate, which won't have them back in Omaha until March 29.
The men play one more in Omaha on March 9 against Oral Roberts, then hit the road for matches at Hilton Head, S.C. The women play their next three matches in Des Moines, three more after that in Kansas City, then join the men's team in South Carolina mid March.
Despite being picked to finish last and second to last in conference, the Omaha men's and women's tennis teams have both gotten off to encouraging starts.
The women's squad is off to a perfect 2-0 after a 7-0 blowout win over Nebraska Wesleyan, followed by a hard fought 4-3 victory over former North Central Conference rival North Dakota.
It will be months before Nebraska weather will allow any tennis outdoors, but on Sunday the UNO men's tennis team got their season underway indoors at the Hanscom Brandeis Tennis Center, and the women aren't far behind.
The men are coming off a season in which they finished 6-13. The ladies went 7-12 in 2011-12, but at one point were 3-11 before winning four of their last five matches.
It's a new season with many new opponents and many fresh faces, but the goals remain the same.
"Getting better, improving each day," Head Coach Mike Saniuk said. "Building better players to increase the program."
When the week began, the UNO men's tennis team was looking at the possibility of going the year without a win over a fellow Division I team. But a 4-3 win over Western Illinois on Monday guaranteed that wouldn't happen.
The women's tennis team achieved a team goal by defeating a fellow Division I team on Monday then followed it up with victories in two of their final three matches.
One of the goals for head coach Mike Saniuk and the UNO tennis teams in 2012 was to get a win over a fellow Division I team. As the week began at Western Illinois, that goal was quickly slipping away.