Jerry Thor believes he can build the Eastern Florida State College women's tennis program into a national power.
And it all starts now.
"I have complete confidence that we're going to be the team to beat in a hurry," the Titans first-year coach said. "We definitely have that sense of urgency to obtain excellence as soon as possible."
EFSC opens its spring season Saturday at Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida. The Titans make their home debut at the new Titan Tennis Complex on the Melbourne Campus on Feb. 19 against St. Petersburg.
This year's roster features four sophomores and four freshmen.
Trio has noticed a big change since Thor took over the program.
"He's amazing," the Titans captain said. "He really cares about us and he's been doing everything he can to make our team stronger and better."
That includes making sure the Titans players are not only in better shape than they ever have been, but also playing an exciting brand of tennis.
"(He's teaching us to be) definitely more aggressive, smarter on the court and using the court to our advantage," Trio said.
The Titans will open the season ranked 20th in the nation and sixth out of seven Florida teams in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) preseason national rankings.
Playing in a region that features four teams in the top eight – No. 1 ASA Miami, No. 4 State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota, No. 5 St. Petersburg College and No. 8 Hillsborough – will be a challenge. However, the Titans are looking forward to the test.
"We're going to play some of the top teams in the country," Thor said. "That's going to be the competition we hope to face at nationals, so if we've seen some of the best teams in the country 12 times throughout the next four months, there aren't going to be any surprises when they take the court, ready to compete."
One of the biggest changes for the Titans this season, aside from Thor, will be playing matches on their new home court. That has the players excited.
"It's not just nice because we don't have to drive five miles to get to practice, but it's cool because now the community can see what we're doing," Trio said. "It's just like our second home. Those courts are awesome."
With new courts, new players and a building level of excitement around the program, Thor hopes the Titans will become must-see entertainment for the community.
"We play an exciting style of doubles and they're just good kids," he said. "They work really hard. I think the community will really enjoy coming out and spending the afternoon watching some high-level college tennis."
As he gets ready for his first season with the Titans, Thor sounds like someone who has found a home at Eastern Florida State College.
"I love it here," he said. "I love working for Coach (Associate Vice President for Athletics Jeff) Carr. I love the leadership of the college. The support from the top to the bottom has been great. It's just a great place to build a nationally competitive tennis program.
"… (This is) the beginning of something special."
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT: Mark DeCotis, Athletic Communications
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