New players growing match by match

Shannon Kuhfuss

Shannon Kuhfuss
City Times

San Diego City College’s Men’s Tennis team began their season this year with a batch of new faces and a couple returners. With a rocky start in January, Head Coach Brandon Lupian remains optimistic. Lupian’s philosophy is to never give up, play hard – and have fun.

“I think the biggest thing the team is struggling with is our mental game, especially the young guys who need to understand tennis is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical”, said Lupian.

“I think they let too many little things bother them throughout a match, the challenge is with(in) ourselves; once we defeat the demons within ourselves, defeating everybody else will come easy. We just keep shooting ourselves in the foot”, Lupian said.

The Knights have had losses against Riverside (0-9), Long Beach (3-4), and Cypress (4-5). Mesa College is also a major competitor in their conference for the same conference and they consistently field a competitive team.

The biggest rivalry however, involves Imperial Valley College who defeated the Knights (3-6) at home on Feb. 16th. It runs deeper than rival schools , the coaches have a friendly rivalry from back in Lupian’s high school coaching days.

On March 13, the Knights have a chance to take back that loss when they play Imperial Valley away at 2:00 p.m.

Though this season’s team is slightly fresh-faced and wet behind the ears, they are pulling along with great strides. Each player is growing stronger in their individual tennis game as well as developing as a team.

With much more of the season still in front of them, the team looks to the future with anticipation.

When asked in an e-mail interview what his hopes were for the squad this season in comparison to last, Lupian said, “Compared to last season I was just trying to field a team, it was a little easier this time around after a young, but solid, recruiting class came in. I also have two returnees from last season that have been great. Their games have improved a lot; they know my expectations of them and they have not disappointed me.”

Head Coach Brandon Lupian attended Southwestern College where he was a two-time All-Pacific Coast Conference selection before playing at Alliant International University where he earned his Bachelors’ in Sociology in 2003. He was also the Men’s Assistant Tennis Coach at Southwestern College.

Lupian’s father played tennis at City College in the “glory days” for Coach Bob Bacon, his aunt and uncle both played tennis professionally.

The 2008 Men’s Tennis roster has seven players which include, Tom Andrews, Jeffrey Castro, Robert Contreras, Chris Sua, Elias Delgado, Dwaine Smith II, and Ray Tabuena.

City College Students are encouraged to come out and support the Knights. The Tennis Program at City College is making a great headway by providing individuals with great character to lead the teams on and off the field.