The Bethel College Pilots wrapped up their fall season on a high note by winning two of their final three matches over Manchester University and Calumet College of St. Joseph. And although their final record of 2-12 was far from what was hoped for, the men fought and competed at a high level in most of their matches.
Once again, the Pilots were an extremely young team this fall with just two seniors on the roster. Five freshmen and three sophomores made up over half of the roster and many of them gained valuable experience going forward into the spring.
Competition in the Crossroads League was once again very strong as the top five teams were all loaded with great talent and each was capable of winning the conference. The Pilots played well against this competition, but were unable to break through. Their best chance was a meeting with the University of St. Francis (IN) where the Pilots battled, but lost 5-4. Still, they continued to work hard with great attitudes and it finally paid off with a 7-2 win at Manchester before closing out the fall with a hard-fought 5-4 victory over Calumet College.
Some individual highlights included freshman, Nick Kindig achieving a record of 7-7 in singles. Trent Stout and Luke Prude teaming up to play some outstanding doubles at the number two slot and ending with a record of 5-9 against some very stiff competition. Sophomore, Mason Heller played very well at number three doubles and finished with a mark of 5-6. And senior, Caleb Hadden played well going 2-3 in singles and 6-8 in doubles. Caleb also earned NCCAA Student-Athlete of the Week honors for the week of September 23-28.
At the conclusion of the fall season, the following Pilots were recognized for their efforts and achievements:
Most Valuable Player – Ethan Turner
Most Improved Player – Nick Kindig
Mental Attitude Award – Rafael Barreto
Bethel Spirit Award – Luke Hoffman
In summary, Bethel coach, John Natali stated: "The 2013 fall season for the Pilots was a season of growth that will hopefully result in much more success on the courts in the future. However, this group of student-athletes demonstrated that they were a very unselfish group of men – always placing the team first above themselves. And we are very proud of each of them."