The men’s tennis team has enjoyed significant success this year. Their record sits at an impressive 6-1, 5-1 in Crossroads League play, and the team sits just a game out of first place in the conference standings. Additionally, head coach Stan King earned his 100th career win on Tuesday. King has managed to put together a very successful and diverse roster this year.
Of the 13 student-athletes on the tennis team, eight are international students from six countries. Balazs Pirot, a senior from Hungary, says that this can be an asset or a hindrance. “Diversity could be a friend or an enemy on a team,” he said. “I do think we were able to build on it and learn from each other in a way that we can say we made diversity work for us and be an advantage for our team.”
Eric Zurcher, a first-year and native of Switzerland, believes that the team’s diversity is a strength. “I feel like the diversity helps us. Even though we’re such a diverse team with many different backgrounds, we still support each other as well as possible. I feel like our team has a lot more character than many other teams in our conference, which helps in every match,” he said.
Pirot agreed and added that being on the team has been a positive experience for him. “We are a bunch of very different guys with very different backgrounds, and we are all fighting for the same goals. I spend a good amount of my time around the team and I know these relations that we built will be life-lasting.”
Michael Oyer, a senior who hails from Hesston, Kansas, agreed. “It’s been amazing. It gives me a completely different set of friends to look forward to seeing around campus. Had I chosen not to play tennis, I would have missed out on the opportunity to meet guys from all over the world that have taught me more than they realize,” he said.
When asked what he learned from his teammates, Oyer said, “These guys have taught me that if you put all you have out there, and come up losing, no harm is done. I play a bit of a different style of tennis then most people are used to, and quite frankly am somewhat embarrassed by it at times, but these guys are incredible at encouraging and help me remember that it doesn’t matter how it looks, if you win the match. This keeps me from getting too low, because, you know, you can’t win them all.”
Zurcher spoke of the off-the-court knowledge he has gained from the team. “I learned a lot about different cultures and their habits. I’m really proud that we’re the most international sports team in Goshen College.”
Looking forward, the tennis team heads to the Indiana Institute of Technology this Saturday and hosts Grace College in a conference match on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Oyer is excited to see what the future holds for this group. “If this team straightens a few things out mentally, there is no reason the team can’t win the conference and look forward to the first national tournament berth in years. I feel confident in saying there is no other team in the conference with the amount of pure skill than what this team is able to bring.”