The King’s College men’s and women’s tennis teams recently returned to the Wyoming Valley after spending a week on a spring break in Kissimmee, Florida. Two Pittston Area grads, Terry Briggs and Miranda Warunek, come back from the trip set to help the Monarchs once conference play starts this season.
The men’s tennis team was picked to finish second this season by conference coaches in the Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom Division after going 13-7 overall last season with a 5-1 mark in conference play. King’s won its only match in the fall season against Lycoming.
Briggs, a sophomore and 2014 graduate of Pittston Area, won a singles and doubles match against Lycoming in the fall. At the King’s College Invitational, Briggs captured the No. 7-8 championship with a win over teammate Tyler Tuck, 6-0, 6-2.
“It’s actually very different than high school,” Briggs said. “There is a lot of work and it’s hard to handle sometimes. The experience is amazing. The team is so nice and the coaches are as well.”
In Florida, Briggs failed to win a match, but he’s made improvements, he said. The men finished second to top-seeded Wilkes at the MAC Freedom tournament last season.
“Florida was an amazing experience,” Briggs said. “We didn’t play great but we played some great teams. We learned so much from that.”
Most recently, Briggs earned his first win of the spring season with a 6-1, 6-4 decision over Albright College’s Colemann Mitchell. The win was part of the Monarchs’ 8-1 decision over Albright. It was the first win for King’s of the spring season and the team improved to 2-5 overall.
Briggs said the Monarchs have been struggling in doubles matches recently. In college matches, as opposed to high school matches, doubles are played first. The sophomore said that helps him get in the groove going into his singles matches.
“It helps me to try and find my form,” he said. “I usually start slow in singles matches so doubles play really helps my singles play.”
Briggs hopes to reach .500 this season on a personal level. Right now, he said, he’s working on playing consistent in his first full season.
Briggs started his college career with a semester at Kutztown University. He then decided to make his way closer to home and attend King’s. This is his first full year starting for the Monarchs. He is the son of Terry and Nelia Briggs, Pittston. Currently, he’s studying mathematics and minoring in sociology.
Following a home match with Eastern University on Saturday, the King’s men will be back in action on at noon on Sunday, April 3 at Lebanon Valley College.
Warunek in 3rd season for King’s
On the women’s side, Warunek, a junior and 2013 Pittston Area grad, looks to help get the Lady Monarchs off and running this season.
So far, Warunek has been playing mostly the No. 5 or No. 6 singles sport for the Monarchs, while also teaming with Maggie Walsh, Lauren DeReinzi, Natalie Coffee and Julie Keppel in doubles events. Currently, she is 4-5 in doubles play and has one singles win, dating back to September.
During the trip to Florida, the women failed to win a match but picked up a lot of experience, Warunek said. She said being able to fly down with teammates and staying in the same house brought the team closer together.
“We were down there in the warm weather and in the sun,” she said. “There is no better feeling than being on the tennis court with a worthy opponent.”
The women’s tennis team was picked fourth in the MAC Freedom preseason coaches poll. Last year, the Monarchs finished 6-12 overall with a 3-3 mark in conference. King’s has made the conference tournament each of the past six seasons. The women went 2-1 in this past fall portion of the season.
Warunek hopes to improve in her third season on the team. In the first couple years, she said she would “play down to her opponents.” She’s not going to let that happen again.
“I just want to be a better overall player and not second guess myself,” she said. “I want to be the best player regardless of the opponent or skill level.”
As a senior at Pittston Area, Warunek reached the District 2 championships. In 2011, she teamed up with Anna Podrasky to win a first round match at districts in the doubles event.
Warunek is the daughter of Joe and Pat Warunek, Yatesville. She’s currently studying to be a physician assistant at King’s. The transition to college in a competitive field was tough at first, she said. In her freshman year, she focused on studying. Once her sophomore season rolled around, she was able to balance and tennis on a consistent basis.
“It’s been a rollercoaster,” she said. “You have your up points and your down points. It’s all about a balance.”
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick