MARYVILLE, Mo. — The Northwest Missouri State tennis teams have had a major run of sustained excellence under head coach Mark Rosewell, but this past season will certainly go down as one of the best.
Behind All-Americans Franco Oliva and Irene Recuenco, each team enjoyed a strong conference season and the Bearcat women advanced all the way to the national quarterfinals last spring.
“We felt like both teams really did well,” Rosewell said. “Starting with the men, we took second in the league. ... The women really got hot towards the end of the season. We were the best team in our league although we lost to Central Oklahoma in the tournament 4-3. ... We beat Washburn, who won the conference, easily 4-1 at their place for the regional final.”
Rosewell has been the Bearcats’ head coach for 35 years, but says his love for the sport has him looking forward to each season like it is his first and 2019-2020 is no exception.
“After really like 40 years of coaching, with Central Missouri included, I still have the passion and that is a good thing,” Rosewell said. “I don’t try to get too high on a recruiting class or too low. I just try to keep it somewhere in the middle.”
On the men’s side, Oliva returns after winning MIAA Player of the Year honors as a sophomore and being named an ITA All-American. The Argentinian player is poised to make further strides as a junior.
“He really just came out of nowhere because he play No. 3 for us his freshman year and really a mediocre 3 — he wasn’t anything outstanding,” Rosewell said. “But, boy, he got hot in the fall.”
Rosewell is also excited about what he has behind Oliva in the lineup with sophomore Fabien Calloud from Tokoyo, Japan, going into his second season as the team’s No. 2 player.
The rest of the depth in the Northwest lineup remains mostly intact and Rosewell has plenty of faith in the newcomers he is adding to the program.
“We’ve got a good nucleus there,” Rosewell said. “Particularly with the me, on paper, we should be better.”
On the women’s side, they must do more shuffling with ITA All-American Irene Recuenco deciding to transfer.
Senior Tania Teruel was the team’s No. 1 player for a majority of her junior season and Rosewell is happy to have her back to lead the team.
A player that Rosewell believes is poised for a breakout season is last year’s No. 4 player Julia Aliseda. As a freshman, she was Honorable Mention All-MIAA and finished with 25-7 singles record.
“She was my pick for (MIAA) Freshman of the Year,” Rosewell said. “She had a really good year. You can see that we have some weapons.”
The Bearcat men will open their season on September 2 with the Leavenworth Tournament in Leavenworth, Kansas. The men and women will both compete a week later at the Central Region Doubles Tournament in Topeka, Kansas.