SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Augustana men's tennis opens the spring season with a trip to Lincoln, Neb. for a 4 p.m. match against Nebraska Wesleyan. Last year, the Vikings defeated the Prairie Wolves in last year's season-opener. The Vikings return five players from last year looking to improve upon their 5-6 record.Second serveThe Vikings will head to Minnesota for a pair of matches against Saint John's (Minn.) and Grinnell College on Feb. 8 at 1 and 4 p.m., respectively.Young Vikings return with experienceAugustana welcomes back five athletes from last year's squad that gained valuable experience in either their freshman or sophomore seasons. Collin Noldner returns for his junior season as Augustana's top player after playing No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles last season. Noldner posted a 10-4 singles mark at his second-flight position. Sophomore Jared Hofer played No. 4 singles but had a strong fall at the ITA Central Region Championships and looks to take over the No. 2 spot. Hofer logged an 8-2 record in singles, including a 2-0 mark at No. 3.Jackson Buchanan played No. 3 after Hofer was moved down to the fourth spot, finishing with a 4-6 singles record last season. Playing with Hofer at No. 2 doubles, Buchanan owned a 6-5 doubles mark. Brock Baade split his two singles matches, and finished with an even 4-4 record at No. 3 doubles. Colan Surratt will be looking to bounce back from a 3-6 year at No. 5 singles. The Vikings all return one year wiser and can look forward to adding a new piece to their team.New face in the crowdAugustana welcomes Evan Richards of Le Mars, Iowa to the 2014 roster. Richards is a two-time letterwinner at Le Mars County High School and was named All-Conference as a senior. In his senior season, Richards advanced to the Iowa State Tournament after advancing to sub-state as a sophomore.Leading the chargeHead coach Marc Kurtz is in his 10th season at the helm of the Augustana men's tennis program. Under Kurtz, the Vikings have a 31-80 record since 2005. The Vikings' winning percentage of .455 last season was the highest of his tenure. The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference does not sponsor men's tennis.--- GoAugie.com --- Eric Zahn Assistant Sports Information Director
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