By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
Going to the ACCAC nationals will be as easy as showing up, for the women’s tennis team.
“The girls are excited because they’re going to play nationals for sure,” head coach Ian Esquer said.
The same can’t be said for the men’s team, as it will have to qualify in the top three at the regional competition.
Last season, the men’s tennis squad ended its run at the Region I championships. The women’s team ended with sophomore Noelle Karp losing in the No. 3 singles.
After coaches Brian Ramirez and Gretchen Schantz stepped down from their positions at season’s end, PCC hired former student Esquer to coach both teams.
Esquer played at the college from 2006-2008 and went to nationals both times. As coach, he hopes to bring out that same energy in his student-athletes.
“This year is going to be really interesting,” he said. “I got both teams with just four players last semester, and I thought it was going to be tough to fill up.”
He thinks his players will enjoy a good season.
“Both teams are improving a lot more since the semester started,” he said.
The number of players represent a major change since his time at PCC. In 2006, both teams had nine players. Esquer has six players on his teams now.
“It’s more even this time, compared to when I played,” he said. “You want a team that can play at the same level and at all positions and seeds.”
The women’s team will have its first game on Feb. 23 in Thatcher against Eastern Arizona College.
The men’s team begins play by hosting Mesa Community College on Feb. 28 at the West Campus tennis courts.