Belmont Tennis: More than a sport, More than a team

February 23, 2023

Author: The Crusader Staff Writer, Joseph Rowzie

Last year, Belmont Abbey tennis won the Conference Carolinas Tennis Tournament for the first time in the program’s history. It came down to a tight score of 4-2 against Mount Olive, a formidable opponent. In addition to winning the conference championship, Belmont Abbey tennis made its first appearance in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional since 2001! Their opponent was set to be Columbus State, the number 1 seed of the region. Though the match ended in a loss, that year’s success set a path to a brighter future for the Belmont Abbey College tennis program. I asked returner Andy Golindano: “what was it like to win a conference championship?” And he responded by saying, “I have never felt so many different emotions just to be met with the greatest sense of relief.”

Behind every great team, there is a greater coach, and that coach’s name is Michael Solomon. I went around and talked to the returners of the Belmont Abbey tennis team and asked them a few questions about how Coach Solomon has impacted the program and this year’s team. One of the questions was: “if you could describe Coach Solomon in one word, what would it be?” The most popular words were hardworking and professional, and many would say that he took Belmont’s tennis to a higher standard of work ethic and play.

What makes this team more than your ordinary program is the steam standards. Out of the eleven, I have seen enforced the most: compete, respect, and have positive enthusiasm. To this team, respect is more than a thank you or please, in a competitive sense, respect is shown through honesty and competitiveness but on and off the court, treating everyone as images of God is key to our success. In all the matches, I always hear the coach telling the team and myself to “compete.” To compete is to play with your tools and bring the best tennis you can. I remember him telling me a story about one of his college matches where he was a set and, like, 4 or 5 games down; he found a way to win. And that’s when he started to believe there is always a chance to win. 

We, as freshmen, have to recite these team standards if we want to receive tennis gear. And these standards apply to life, practice, and matches. Belmont tennis is brought to a higher standard through our coach and is carried on through each first-year class that has come to Belmont tennis. As a freshman entering a brand-new college environment, making friends and settling in can be a struggle. Believe me when I say I have never been more welcomed into a group in my whole life than this team in the Abbey. I believe that this team has had this much success because of the way they treat newcomers and each other. This team wins together, and they lose together with excellence.

This article was originally posted in the Fall 2022, Issue 2 of The Crusader NewspaperDownload the full issue.