Fox 11 Story: Phoenix Tennis on the Rise

Courtesy: Green Bay Athletics
         
Release: April 25, 2012
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Green Bay senior Paul Swanson being interviewed prior to the 2012 Horizon League Championships.
Fox 11 sports reporter Jude Wilbers caught up with the Green Bay men's tennis team on April 25 prior to the 2012 Horizon League Championships.

By Jude Wilbers, Fox 11
Phoenix tennis is on the rise: fox11online.com

GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Green Bay Phoenix men’s tennis team has slowly ascended to the top of the Horizon League under fourth year head coach Mark Thomas.

The team won nine matches in his first season and progressed to a school record seventeen wins in 2012, including a six and one conference mark.

Thomas says the success begins with the players.

"Recruiting is the life blood of any program and so we brought in players who were better each year and added depth and last year was the best season we ever had and we just built on it,” he said.

Thomas has gone far and wide to gather the best student-athletes possible, the current roster includes 5 players from Germany another England, and the team has embraced the international flavor.

Senior Paul Swanson has a good perspective on the life experience the team has given him.

"I definitely know more about Europe than a lot of American 22-year-olds that's for sure. It's good you get a lot of experience with a lot of different cultures,” said Swanson.

Erik Finkenbrink is one of the five Germans on the team and he appreciates having his countrymen with him in Green Bay.

"It's nice to have our German buddies over here and it's nice to experience different cultures. It's good for our future lives as well,” said Finkenbrink.

The success of the 2012 Phoenix will only help build the program’s reputation overseas.

“They look at the roster and see I have German players here I know them, they are good. I know I'm going to get to a good start because they come from my home country as well.”

When I spoke with Craig Cox, another of the foreign born players, he said that the team is close and has found a way to forge a bond.

"We've all adapted a little to each other, we've learned slang phrases, its good fun on the court. We do have a lot of fun with each other,” said Cox.

The Phoenix will look for team history this weekend at the conference tourney, a win gets them in the NCAA's the first time and they also get a chance to avenge their lone conference loss, a 4-3 to Wright State.

"Since I came in my freshman year this is what me and the coaches have been talking about it. It'd mean everything. We talk about it when we come to practice everyday,” said Swanson.

Making the tournament would represent and important milestone for the program. The ability to add NCAA qualifier to the school’s resume, according to Thomas, will increase their recruiting foot print.

"We've done everything else now. It's the last thing we haven't accomplished and if you're looking for a recruiting standpoint, when you go to the NCAA's it shows you're a program you want to go play for,” Thomas said.

Phoenix tennis is on the rise: fox11online.com

 

 

INSIDE MEN'S TENNIS
SCHEDULE
Schedule Sponsor
Friday , January 23
Men's Tennis 
at Illinois
9:00 AM
Champaign, Ill. (Illinois)
 
Men's Tennis 
at Ball State
3:00 PM
Champaign, Ill. (Illinois)
 
Friday , January 30
Men's Tennis 
at Minnesota
11:00 AM
Minneapolis, Minn.
 
Sunday , February 01
Men's Tennis 
vs. UW-Whitewater
9:00 AM
Green Bay, Wis.
 
Men's Tennis 
vs. Cardinal Stritch
12:00 PM
Green Bay, Wis.
 
Friday , February 06
Men's Tennis 
at Western Michigan
7:00 PM
Kalamazoo, Mich.
 
Saturday , February 07
Men's Tennis 
at IPFW
10:00 AM
Kalamazoo, Mich. (Western Michigan)
 
Sunday , February 08
Men's Tennis 
at Detroit
TBA
Detroit, Mich.
 
Friday , February 13
Men's Tennis 
vs. Toldeo
6:00 PM
Green Bay, Wis.
 
Sunday , February 15
Men's Tennis 
vs. DePaul
TBA
Green Bay, Wis.
 
Sunday , February 22
Men's Tennis 
at Marquette
12:00 PM
Milwaukee, Wis.
 
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