William and Mary Tennis Head Coach Peter Daub is fired up.
His Tribe (14-9) team heads into the last four matches of the season with a chance to capture the No. 1 seed in the CAA tournament for the first time in his tenure. His number one player, senior Keziel Juneau, is ranked and has a chance to compete nationally in singles and doubles. The rest of his team is stepping up at the right time.
But Daub doesn’t want to talk about the Tribe’s accomplishments — he wants to talk about his team’s plan heading into its last four matches.
“Well, clearly we want to get wins,” Daub said. “We want to play at the very best level we can play at heading into the conference [tournament]. The second thing we want to do is play in the outdoor matches so we’re used to the elements outside.”
The College has four home matches before the start of the CAA tournament, with Delaware and Norfolk State this Saturday and DePaul and Liberty next Sunday. If the Tribe takes down the Blue Hens, it will clinch the top seed in the conference tournament.
“We still have to beat Delaware on Saturday,” Daub said. “We have put ourselves in a good position, but it really doesn’t mean anything until you seal the deal. We hope to be able to do that on Saturday, but I certainly wouldn’t go out and say [we are the top seed], because we still have matches left.”
Leading the College in those matches will be senior Keziel Juneau who is the No. 109 ranked singles player in the country and currently has 19 wins this season. He is also one of only three players in Tribe history with over 80 singles and doubles wins in his career.
Daub expects Juneau and his doubles partner, junior Sebastien Vidal, to challenge nationally in the postseason.
“I think they have a good chance to get into the NCAAs in doubles and I think they need to go in there with the attitude that they are going to win it,” Daub said. “We probably won’t be a seeded team, but Sebastien and Keziel have enough talent to hang mentally and put themselves in a position to win the title.”
Juneau and Vidal have stood out for the Tribe in the last couple of years. But its a couple of newcomers, senior Richard Wardell and freshman Jamie Whiteford, who have helped the College achieve success this season.
Wardell, who has battled injuries over his four-year career in Williamsburg, rallied after from a late-set deficit to help the Tribe defeat defending Big East champion South Florida.
“He’s battled every year he’s been here,” Daub said. “He has a great passion to play, a great desire to play, and sometimes that’s an even bigger asset than talent.”
Whiteford has also performed well for the College, earning an 18-7 record in the No. 3 spot while also recording 12 wins in dual-match play.
Daub believes the cohesion of this year’s team, along with its depth, has the Tribe ready to compete in the last weeks of the season.
“The most important element [for the team] is they out-battle their opponent, out-work their opponent,” Daub said. “If they’re able to do that, they should put themselves in a real good position to get the [win].”