Four years ago, senior Matt Hane came to GW on a mission to be successful playing Division I tennis.
To Hane, winning is everything.
“Competition is pretty much everything I play for,” he said. “There are certain kinds of guys. Some just go out there and love to play tennis just for the sport, and some people love to go out there and play the matches for competition’s sake, and that’s one of the main reasons I play. I just love competing and seeing how I match up against everyone else.”
It is this competitive drive, and another player named Matt, that has propelled the GW men’s tennis team’s improvement over the past three years. As co-captains, Hane and junior Matt Treadgold have led the Colonials to a 12-6 regular season record, with Hane finishing 16-2 individually and Treadgold finishing 16-3.
Now, the two have the opportunity for something even bigger – the team’s first Atlantic 10 Championship since 1979. With a 12-6 record, the Colonials will be one of top three seeds in the tournament that begins Friday in Monroe, Pa.
“Our goal for the season is to win A-10s,” Hane said. “The last few matches, we’ve started to realize that it’s definitely possible.”
Hane has a 63-22 record in his four seasons and in the process has earned Atlantic 10 awards as Rookie of the Year in 2001, Player of the Year in 2002 and All-Conference in 2003. He has also been the team’s Most Valuable Player in each of his first three years.
Treadgold has compiled a 40-15 record in the second singles spot, and Hane calls him “the best two-player in the conference.” He has been named A-10 All-Conference twice, and last week he had a streak of 15 consecutive singles victories snapped.
While the co-captains’ winning ways have been consistent, both their tennis games and attitudes have changed.
Growing up in the warm weather of South Carolina, Hane became accustomed to the slower pace of outdoor tennis and had to change his style a bit in college.
“When I came up here, all our matches were indoors and it was a lot faster paced,” he said. “I had to change my game a lot. I had to start relying on my serve a lot more and I couldn’t just sit back and rally. I had to step up and hit balls. That was a big step for me; it helped my game a lot.”
Mentally, Hane said he also modified his game.
“In juniors, I was a bit of a hothead and I had a pretty bad attitude whenever I lost,” he said. “But since coming to college, it has been more about winning as a team as opposed to playing for yourself.”
Playing high school tennis in upstate New York, Treadgold did about making an indoor transition. He said his issue was making more of an exclusive commitment to tennis.
He originally looked to play for a Division III program, where he could have a chance to play volleyball and hone his skills on the cello, which has been a hobby of his over the years. But after choosing GW instead, Treadgold said he has no regrets.
“I’m so happy that I had an opportunity to come here and play,” he said. “It’s so competitive. Focusing on (only) tennis has improved my game tenfold.”
Treadgold said he also has superior focus on the court, and he’s not shy about sharing this key to his success.
“I’m like a machine. I flip the switch and it’s just focus from beginning to end,” he said. “When I walk on the court, it’s all business. No fun and games. You go out there to get a job done and kill your opponent. I’ve developed a power game. I don’t like being pushed around on the court, and that’s what my game shows. I play to bring it to my opponent every time.”
Aside from on-court attributes, Hane and Treadgold share the leadership duties on the team. Head Coach Tom Hawkins said that both players handle their responsibilities differently.
“Matt Hane is more of a leader on the court, and Matt Treadgold is more of a leader on and off the court,” he said.
Both players agreed that their styles are different but said each is beneficial to the team in different ways.
“I’m more of a ‘get along with everyone’ kind of guy,” Hane said. “I lead by example by playing well on the court. Treadgold handles more of the business with coaches and everything administration-wise, like setting up practices. I like to go on the court and work hard. Everyone sees that, and it makes them want to work hard as well.”
The two captains also hold regular meetings with Hawkins to ensure the players’ needs are being fulfilled.
“I like to be closely involved with coaching, because I feel like I can offer a lot of insight into the team,” Treadgold said. “I’ve seen the way a lot of the guys have played. I know how our players will match up against them, and any sort of edge we can gain will help the team.”
Treadgold and Hane are also close friends; they share a room in New Hall.
The Hane file
-63-22 career record
-2001 A-10 rookie of the year
-2002 A-10 player of the year
-16-2 this season
The Treadgold file
-40-15 career record
-2002, 2003 A-10 all-conference
-16-3 this season