Rice tennis fought through a challenging 2019-2020 season. The lessons learned in the tough campaign will pay off for the Owls in the future.
The injury-filled fall and the abruptly ended spring did no favors to Rice tennis. Despite the hard hand they were dealt last season, Rice is doubling down on its future.
Rice will have four seniors and four juniors on their roster next season, leaving just two underclassmen. Retaining a group of young players that have seen as much of the court as the Owls’ elder statesmen should be a huge step up from the competition for multiple reasons, but none ring truer than culture.
No one knows when the sports world will return back to “normal”. What we do know, however, is those programs starting from “square one” will be dealt an incalculably more challenging task. New coaches and players will be at an inherent disadvantage.
As tough as the 2019-2020 season was for Rice, the fortitude and endurance developed over the course of the hard year are already beginning to pay off. Those who played key roles this season will be better off and will carry what they’ve learned into next season. It took strain, but Rice tennis has developed a resilient culture that will steer them into the future.
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Head coach Efe Ustendag emphatically declared “the team is in good position” entering the fall. the bonds established from strenuous seasons, both on and off the cour, have drawn the team together while apart. Whenever Rice tennis returns, they’ll be given an opportunity to put this past season in the rear view mirror. Several members of this team remember winning the conference tournament as recently as 2017.
Rice will also have the added advantage of not having to force its younger, less-proven players to carry the load by themselves. A healthy roster that’s been through the ringer will pay off in the long run. Whenever the Owls get back on the court, they’ll be ready.
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