March 10, 2016 – As the Eastern Florida State College women's tennis team has discovered this season, there really is no place like home.
Playing at the new Titan Tennis Center has not only given the players courts to call their own, it has also given them confidence and -- with an average of 50 fans showing up per match -- a fan base as well.
"People actually come out to watch our matches now, as opposed to last year," sophomore team captain Nicole Trio said. "No one really knew about us. Now, (the courts) are right on campus, so everyone knows. Everyone sees them and drives past them, and sees them heavily advertised out in the community. That's really special, too."
EFSC (6-4) will host its final four home matches beginning Friday at 10 a.m. against NCAA Division II opponent Slippery Rock University.
That will be followed by a pair of Florida College System Activities Association Athletics Region 8 matches against No. 8 Hillsborough on Saturday at 4 p.m. and on Sunday against No. 14 Broward at 10 a.m.
The final home match of the season will take place on Tuesday at 3 p.m. against Bentley University, another NCAA Division II opponent.
Players who come to EFSC for matches have been impressed with the school's new courts, not only asking how long they have been here, but also taking pictures of the facility.
That's right. Opposing players have been taking pictures of the Titan Tennis Complex.
"I think it makes a statement when the other team shows up and they see our brand new, state-of-the-art facility with windbreakers with pictures of the players on them," Titans coach Jerry Thor said. "They know they're going to play a high-quality, high-level team."
The last four home matches will be a critical part of the season as the Titans try to gain some momentum heading into the regional tournament, which takes place next month at Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.
"Slippery Rock is one of the strongest Division II programs in the northeast, and we are glad they are making the trip to the Space Coast to help us sharpen our games for the final month of the season," Thor said. "Hillsborough will be looking for revenge after our 5-4 win in early February, while we will be looking to show how much we have improved over that four-week span.
"Broward is a very underrated team with top 10 wins of their own. I expect every spot in the lineup to be a battle."