by: Robby Floyd
Webster’s Head Men’s Soccer and Tennis Coach Mike Siener recruited three of his soccer players to play on the tennis team. Webster’s men’s tennis team has a record of 10-2 on the season after beating Fontbonne University Tuesday.
Senior Charlie McGhee and freshmen Justin Kohler and Tanner Haugen played for Siener on the men’s soccer team this past fall. Siener learned that each of them had played tennis in high school through conversations, college visits, and phone calls. None of the three had planned to play collegiate tennis until Siener asked them to play.
“All three players were actively recruited to play soccer; naturally since I am the tennis coach also I asked if (McGhee, Kohler, and Haugen) would have any interest in playing both (tennis and soccer) and all three did,” Siener said.
Siener told them about the fun environment of the tennis team and left the decision up to them. They all accepted and said they have enjoyed the team thus far.
These players have been significant contributors to the success of the tennis team. Combined they have a singles record of 16-2 and a doubles record of 9-6 this season.
Playing on the tennis team has been more personal for the players than playing on the soccer team. The soccer team had 30 players and five coaches. The tennis team has only 11 players and one coach.
“I have had more interaction with coach Siener playing tennis. Working with [Siener] individually has led me to improve my tennis game a number of levels, going from someone with little tennis knowledge to being able to compete at a true collegiate level,” McGhee said.
As the only coach of a small roster, Siener has helped each player on their tennis game individually.
“On the first day of practice he noticed that I wasn’t moving my feet as much as I needed to and fixing that helped my game a lot,” Haugen said.
Off the court the players have been able to know Siener on a personal level better than they had on the soccer team.
“In soccer we’re on a team bus and all the coaches sit in the front, but in tennis we’re five guys riding in a van and a lot of the time coach Siener is driving. It’s made for some pretty funny moments,” Kohler said.
Kohler said he prefers soccer to tennis because he’s played for longer and believes he’s better at soccer. McGhee, on the other hand, said he prefers tennis.
“There’s more action (in tennis) compared to soccer. You are always moving. During singles it’s nice to be just you against an opponent,” McGhee said.
During Siener’s tenure as head coach, the team has had a record of 109-75.