By Megan Kramer
As a young Flagler College Tennis team prepares for its first NCAA season, Coach Walter Shinn thinks his team looks solid. “I have already seen a lot of improvement in the pre-season,” he said.
This is a building year for a team that is no stranger to success.
Shinn said his goal for the team is not just to beat opponents, but also to improve as players and mature as individuals. With a young team, he said a lot of growth will happen, something he has already seen signs of.
Playing on the men’s side of the court, Shinn mentioned returnees senior Mario Jutronic and Jeremy Lamande, in no particular order, as his No. 1 and 2 guys. Shinn said he has seven men he already considers solid. Jutronic has noticed the men’s team already bonding.
“We are blending well,” he said. “I hope this carries into the season.”
On the other side of the net, Shinn is counting on freshman Chelsi DeCuba and senior Leigh Ann Moss. Shinn said transfer Chelsea Maratta would bring maturity of the game to this younger team.
“I think I also have seven girls solid on the women’s team,” Shinn said.
Junior Monica Burbelo said they are growing together as a team and bonding. She is excited they will be facing a broad group of schools.
The Saints have also made a few changes to the coaching staff.
Matt Luyellen will be assisting Shinn with the men’s team, and Ziziana Rojas will be assisting with the women’s team.
Luyellen comes from Michigan where he played in college. He then trained at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida. Due to injuries he decided not to go pro.
Rojas is in her senior year at Flagler and is a former member of the team. Shinn said Rojas wanted to continue working with the team and he is glad to have her as an assistant.