By Marcus Hansen – Contributor
The UNO women’s tennis team is making dramatic improvements as it moves into its third season in the MIAA – the power conference in Division II tennis.
The Mavs are led by head coach Bill Nichols, who is entering his 11th season. Nichols has some very basic coaching philosophies: “Don’t hit the ball into the net, don’t double fault, and don’t give up.”
“With the men, I like to point out every little or big thing they are doing wrong and yell at them. With the women, I like to point out one thing they are doing well and focus on that, but I still tend to yell at them,” Nichols said in the fall of 2008, when he was coach of the UNO men’s and women’s tennis teams.
As a former player, I can attest to the fact that Nichols yelled a lot more at the men then he did at the women. At times he makes Bo Pelini look as if he’s Mother Teresa.
However, one thing about Nichols’s coaching that no one can deny is that he teaches discipline.
The women’s team has learned a lot about discipline over the past three years.
The majority of the team are juniors, but even UNO freshman Jessica Hottman knews this about Nichols, as the little sister of junior Mav Heather Hottman.
The sisters will be competing for a top spot on the varsity roster this spring, though it’s unclear if they will play doubles together. Jessica is the only freshman recruit that Nichols signed last year.
The Mavs are led by junior Traci Mocklestad, who returns as the No. 1 singles and doubles player on the squad. Rumor has it that Mocklestad has made such an improvement this fall that she would be competing for a top spot on the men’s team.
In fact, she practices with the men frequently, in addition to practicing with her female teammates.
The only dual the Mavs had this fall was against Concordia University, which the Mavs won 9-0.
The Mavs open the spring season against Nebraska Wesleyan University on Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in Omaha.