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Creighton Tennis Talk: Q&A With Tom Lilly

The Creighton men’s and women’s tennis teams take to the courts a few times this fall during the collegiate individual season. WBR caught up with head coach Tom Lilly to talk about his players’ off-season workouts, how the women’s team played at the Drake Invite last weekend, and what he expects from the men’s team’s trip to Des Moines this weekend.

White & Blue Review: Your teams are just a few weeks into school and the fall Individual season. Are you pleased with their development so far? How are the newcomers adjusting?

Tom Lilly: I am pleased by the effort put forth so far. I feel we always challenge them to work hard on the court but so far this year we have really been pushing them in the weight room with the new strength and conditioning program. They have all been working on getting in better shape and I believe this is going to help us a lot once the spring season rolls around. Analese Snyder is the only new girl and Lorenz Laurel is the only freshman on the men’s team. The two of them have already shown that they came here prepared and in better shape than some of the returning players, so I am impressed with them so far.

WBR: The women’s team was in Des Moines last weekend. Anna Kirshenbaum advanced to the semifinals in Flight A, Analese Snyder advanced to the quarterfinals in Flight B, and Leesa Cadwallader and Ashley Oyakawa both won one match in Flight C. Can you recap your players’ efforts at the Drake Invitational?

TL: Anna played two solid matches and ended up beating a player from Drake that she had never beaten before while growing up in juniors. That is a positive sign of her improvement over the past 14 months. Leesa Cadwallader and Mary McMullan competed well in doubles but that was the only team that really stepped up at the invite. We haven’t had much time to work on our doubles, but with only one freshman on the team I thought we would be further along than we showed. It just means that we will need to work harder on doubles and probably try a few different line ups this fall to see what works best. I was happy with the way everyone competed in the matches that they played even though we did not have the results we were hoping for in all the draws.

WBR: The men’s team takes the same trip to Des Moines this weekend. What are you looking for out of the individuals who will take part in the Drake tournament?

TL: We will be without J.T. Christian, last year’s men’s MVP, as he is out with a foot injury. This will give everyone else a shot to step up and show what they have done over the summer to improve. I believe we have a strong men’s team once again and this tournament will give us something to build off of and show our strengths as well as what we really need to work on the most in the following weeks. All of the guys will have an opportunity to win their draws this weekend and we will just have to see who plays the best over the next few days. I am confident that they will all compete hard regardless of the final outcome.

WBR: You’re just a few weeks away from your teams’ only local tournament of the fall season, the Omaha Collegiate Invite. What do you hope to see from your team leading up to that event?

TL: I hope to see both of our teams continue to work hard on the court and in conditioning leading up to the Omaha Collegiate Invite. I really hope to see some leaders emerge from both groups that can be dependable and that are willing to do all the little things to help motivate their teams to reach new heights. The fall season is a great time for all of our players to improve in many areas so that we can be playing at a high level when the team season begins in late January. Improvements do not come without a lot of time and effort put forth, though.

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