Members of the Jacksonville College tennis teams have logged countless hours of practice and inter squad matches since arriving on campus in early August.
This weekend they will finally be getting an opportunity to play opponents from other schools.
The Jaguars and Lady Jaguars are scheduled to take part in the Tyler Junior College Apache Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
The tourney is the first of three fall tournaments that head coach Jonathan Becker's men and women will be competing in.
JC's netters will also play a dual match against East Texas Baptist University, with the Jags slated to trek to Marshall on Sept. 17 and the ladies set to do the same on Sept. 24.
Becker, who is well known throughout Jacksonville and the area in tennis circles, is in his first season in charge of the college's tennis teams.
He marveled at the consistency and quality that the men have been displaying this fall.
“Right now I think this is one of the best group of guys, from top to bottom, that I have worked with,” he said. “There is a good team chemistry here and all of the guys are really supportive of one another.”
Becker, who believes he has a top 15 team, said that a trio of Jags have had noteworthy falls thus far and that he is expecting big things from them.
That group includes Felipe Coelho Ferreira, Charlie Zwolsman and David Perez De La Fuenta.
Sophomores David Andres Rojas and Samuel Ghigiarelli are expected to bring key experience to the squad.
“Really all of these guys can hit the ball well and they have the physical skills,” Becker said. “One of the functions of my job is to work with these guys and coach them on how to score points. There are a lot of mental aspects to tennis.”
The Jag roster is filled with players who have achieved at a high level internationally; in countries such as Brazil, Spain and Australia.
“Jacksonville College is a great opportunity for (international players) to get their foot in the door and adjust to college life and tennis in the United States,” Becker said. “For those that work hard academically, and on the court, there will be opportunities for them to move on to four year schools.”
Becker is in the process of rebuilding the Lady Jag program, who has suffered from low numbers recently.
Currently Diana Zavala, Dominique Vazquez and Angelica Alvarez are on the JC women's roster.
“I already have some commitments from some young ladies that should be here for the spring semester,” Becker said. “So, we should have a full team to compete in the all-important spring season.”