Ferrell anxious to see team continue success in spring

By Mike Romor

As the fall season nears its end, NIU women’s tennis coach Ryun Ferrell is seeing progress in his program, which has been rapidly rising over the past two seasons.

Coming off a bounce-back season, Ferrell is anxious to see what his team can do once spring comes around.

Ferrell already spoke extensively with the Northern Star about his freshmen class. He also chimed in on his players as a whole and what makes them as successful as they have been.

Northern Star: Do you think you are finally getting to the point you were hoping for the last couple seasons?

Ryun Ferrell: Without a doubt. Especially with Nelle [Youel] and the level she’s at. Nelle was good, but now, at this level, I’m surprised. She’s by far our best player, which is great. Then two through eight is a flat-out dogfight for the rest of the spots and that’s kind of what you want. In my mind, I can go after those players that can be the best player in the MAC, but then you have them for four years and replacing them is so hard. Then you start developing seasons that are up and down.

In my world, I’d rather get players that could play two or three at any school in the league. So I work on getting those girls and developing them to play high.

NS: When you see lineups where the lower spots are successful, you take it that you could put those girls into the top of the lineup and have equal success?

RF: Definitely. Last year we played Arkansas State on three courts. Our top three got destroyed, which was surprising because Nelle played two, but then we sent our four five and six out and they lasted three sets at every spot. As soon as our first three got done, it’s like sending out another wave of top three players right back out for me. We had Arkansas State on the ropes the entire time. It was great.

NS: What makes this team the one you were hoping for?

RF: Well, I want kids with good character that have good integrity and are hard-working. That’s what I have here.

When you get those three things combined and they play good tennis, it’s such a smooth atmosphere. There’s lot of the stupid drama crap you don’t have to worry about. They’re going to class and they’re doing things right. They’re not stealing; they’re not doing dumb things. Then when anything does pop up, it’s so obscure and weird that it’s like, “Whoa, what the hell?”

It’s like what I was telling the girls today. At the beginning of every year we always have some stupid issue with coexisting. I always tell the girls that being on a team is like sleeping in a room that’s too hot next to someone who thinks it’s too cold. There’s constant compromise, so just shut up, understand that you don’t get to have it your way and there is a middle-ground.

I always tell them don’t make it so I have to get involved because if I get involved, I’ll fix it really fast. The things you’ve got to teach these kids is to be humble, play hard and keep the stupid ball in play. I think it works. I guess we’ll find out.