Freshman Johnny Goodwin took to the court against Abilene Christian’s Cole Lawson at the sixth singles spot on Jan. 12. Butterflies swarmed in his stomach.
The referee signaled for the match to start, and the first point of his first college career began. Goodwin had no idea what to expect.
“It’s just something you never get to do before the junior tournament,” Goodwin said. “It’s something really special.”
By the end of the match, Goodwin had no need to be nervous. He dominated his opponent, winning 6-1, 6-0 en route to a Texas sweep of ACU.
Entering the 2016 season at No. 20 in the ITA rankings, the Texas men’s tennis team is ready to begin the spring season. The Longhorns roster is loaded with underclassmen, featuring just one senior and one junior.
Senior Michael Riechmann and junior George Goldoff will lead the team. But the younger players, including Goodwin and freshman Harrison Scott, bring a lot to the table. Goldhoff said his goal is to pass on to the underclassmen what he’s learned over the years.
“I think my first year I was 18. I’m 6-foot-1, and I think I was the shortest guy on the team. So it’s just a lot different, and I am trying to carry out a lot of the lessons that the older guys showed me,” Goldhoff said. “We got a pretty good tradition here in tennis at UT, so there’s not really much to show these guys. We just got to keep it going.”
Scott has impressed in his short time in Austin, taking on the No. 2 singles position. He posted a 10–2 record in the fall and currently sits at No. 94 in the ITA men’s singles rankings.
The Longhorns dropped both matches this weekend to SEC teams, but Goodwin hopes the Longhorns’ energy will push them to work hard and improve their game as the season progresses.
“I think we have a lot to prove this season,” Goodwin said. “We lost a lot of good players last season, and we have just as tough a schedule, so I think it’s going to take a lot from our team to have the same success, but I think we’re up to it, and we’re all excited.”
The Longhorns will look to bounce back from the weekend’s losses on Thursday as they host SMU at the Weller Indoor Tennis Center in Austin.