International Student Darvel Lossangoye, ‘dedicated’ to the Kingsmen tennis team


Photo by Will Haddock - Reporter

Lossangoye has continued to improve his craft while playing at Cal Lutheran.

Will Haddock, Reporter

California Lutheran University senior Darvel Lossangoye was a notable tennis player before joining the Kingsmen men’s tennis team, as a senior he’s now taken on a leadership role. Lossangoye, according to his coach, has managed to inspire others through dedication and pre-game rituals he uses to get into the right headspace for a match.

When he first got to Cal Lutheran in spring of 2020, Lossangoye had to adjust to changes halfway through the season due to COVID-19. The team had to adjust to a shorter season last year as well, which left the team in a down period according to Lossangoye.

Lossangoye said despite the rocky adjustment to his first two seasons, he feels undeterred and thinks the current season is going well.

“I’m really excited for the remainder of the season,” Lossangoye said.

Cal Lutheran Men’s Tennis Head Coach Mike Gennette was looking forward to coaching Lossangoye when he first committed to Cal Lutheran, noting Lossangoye’s tennis skills.

“I knew he was a really good player and we were excited to see what he could bring to the team with his skills and level of play,” Gennette said.

Gennette was looking forward to having an international player. Lossangoye came from Libreville, the capital city of Gabon, a country located on the coast of Central Africa. Gennette said that having Lossangoye and other international players on the team is fun and interesting and enjoys learning about players’ different backgrounds and cultures when traveling with the team on the road.

Lossangoye chose Cal Lutheran for academic purposes, and has managed to balance his tennis career with school through discipline. He finds his belief in himself and his discipline have contributed to his success.

“If I can manage it, if I can achieve it, I can do great stuff in life,” Lossangoye said.

The best part about tennis for Lossangoye is that it helps him focus on other aspects of life. He enjoys the emotion and the tension that comes from the sport as well as the energy it brings him. Gennette noted that Lossangoye has continued to improve his skills while playing with the Kingsmen.

Lossangoye will partake in rituals before games to get his mind in the right place. He does this by listening to music or moving around to get his energy up before matches. Gennette notes that his “rituals” help the team and that Lossangoye has taken on more of a leadership role recently.

“He’s playing number one this season and everybody always tends to look up to the person that’s playing number one on the team, even if it’s just skill level, they’re leading by example,” Gennette said.

Gennette said that Lossangoye spoke to the team after a match about the importance of preparation. Lossangoye said he believes that working hard to be ready physically and mentally for a match has helped him succeed as number one player this season.

Lossangoye recently played in the Pacific Coast Doubles Championship alongside senior Ryan Murphy, competing against schools in all divisions. He believes they had a rough start with the match, however after a victory in the consolation round of 64 qualifier, they were able to reach the consolation round of 32. Lossangoye and Murphy were defeated in the 32 consolation round.

“That was one of the greatest events I participated in in recent years. It was really fun because we had the chance to play all division schools…We didn’t start quite well, but in the next round we performed pretty well,” Lossangoye said.

Lossangoye was not deterred by their defeat, believing that it only helped them learn how to perform better in future matches that he and Murphy play doubles in. Murphy was enthusiastic about the experience expressing that he feels they could have won against the top schools they were competing against.

Lossangoye and Murphy were the only Kingsmen tennis players to compete in the Pacific Coast Doubles Championships, which took place at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club from March 4-6 this year. They have played doubles with each other consistently throughout last year and this current season.

“We started together about halfway through last year and it’s been good ever since…We’ve really been dominant on the court together which is great. The chemistry has worked really well because we balance each other out,” Murphy said.

Murphy spoke about their multiple victories against Chapman University last year being a highlight of his time playing doubles with Lossangoye. He said he looks forward to beating them again this year.

“Darvel and I bring a lot of energy to practice sometimes so that’s always good, especially when doubles comes around. We’re always picking up the energy,” said Murphy.

Lossangoye’s skill and mindset has allowed him to be successful on the court while inspiring others. He plans to continue playing after finishing college.

“Right now I’m playing really good so maybe after I graduate, if I’m still doing good I will try to continue playing,” Lossangoye said.