Sep 13, 2018

2018-19 Men's Tennis Season Preview

A Winning Tradition

  • One NWC Player of the Year (Spencer Watanabe, 2017-18)
  • One NWC Freshman of the Year (Luke Lemaitre, 2018-19) 
  • Seven Northwest Conference Tournament Appearances (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019)
  • Eight All-Americans
  • 37 All-NWC Athletes

NEWBERG – After capping off one of the most memorable campaigns to date in 2017-18, the George Fox men's tennis team is looking to build off that momentum as it embarks on the fall season Sept. 14-16.

For the first time in program history, the Bruins will host a four-team Northwest Collegiate Fall Invitational, featuring two NCAA Division I teams in the University of Portland and the University of Idaho. The tournament itself will take place Friday, Sept. 14, through Sunday, Sept. 16, weather permitting.

The Bruins have stacked their fall schedule with two big round-robin tournaments: the Northwest Collegiate Fall Invitational and the prestigious ITA Championships, where the Bruins enter as the two-time defending champions in singles play.

"As bright as the past has been for us, our future has no ceiling," said head coach Neal Ninteman. "These past several years have been great for us. We've built a strong foundation and set the precedent on what's expected. We have a lot of depth this year and a lot of young talent that I've never experienced before."

In the past, the Bruins have relied on their pillar, three-time All-American Spencer Watanabe. This year, the team will lean on junior Alex Namba and sophomore Will Leach.

"The senior class we had last year was a phenomenal foundation for us," Ninteman added. "We lost Spencer, Tristan, Andrew, and Nick. Those four players were critical to our success and helped us get where we are today."

Along with Namba and Leach, the Bruins welcome back Keaten Baker, Payton Namba, Jonah Wafula, and Justin Barton. As for the newcomers, George Fox brings in two freshmen (Luke Lemaitre and Rox Rogers) and two transfers (Pete Gibson and Thierry Van Os).

"We've had great signs in practice with how competitive each and every guy is," explained Ninteman. "Our possibilities are endless for a starting lineup. It will all come down to who wants it more."

That hunger will feed into a star-studded schedule, as the Bruins are slated for one of the toughest schedules in recent years. After the two early tournaments in the fall, they host No. 31 UC Santa Cruz for a heavyweight bout in October. The spring season won't be a picnic, either, as the Bruins have five top-ranked teams on the schedule.

"We will take one match at a time," Ninteman said. "Our goal is to make it to the national stage, and in order to do that we will need to be focused for each and every match."

To view the Bruins full schedule, click here.

To view the team's roster, click here.