The men and women’s tennis teams are looking to pick up the pace after a slow start to the season, as they gear up for Patriot League competition. In the first few weeks of the spring season both sides of the program have struggled, dropping all three of their matches.
This spring, competitive play commenced earlier than in seasons past, leaving the players with very little time to transition after the long winter break.
“[It’s] been tough, but I think it will positively affect us by the end of the season,” sophomore Tori Almeida said.
Between early practices, off campus court times and unfamiliar non-league opponents, there are countless aspects of the early season that are a challenge for the players. However, it hasn’t been completely negative. Both the men and women had close matches and some important victories in their match against Fairfield last weekend. Senior Jake Lazer, junior Chris Matturri and freshman Mason Keel earned singles victories for the men’s team.
On the women’s side, juniors Caroline Nixon and Catherine Senopoulos also came home with wins. Coming off of a Flight A doubles victory at the Bucknell Fall Invitational, the doubles pair of senior Brandon Goldstein and junior Brian Stefanowicz were able to pick up where they left off with a victory over Fairfield.
“We feel ready, like we are back in our groove,” Goldstein said. “This could be one of our strongest years. Once we get back into a groove, we will be back at the top of our game and will know what to expect from the Patriot League teams.”
With League play comes a sense of familiarity, as well as ramped up competition. Following competition in fall season, the players are often familiar with the game and strategy of the Patriot League competitors, giving them an advantage that they don’t have in the non-league matches of the early season.
“[For now] our goal is to practice our game in a competitive setting that will eventually help us against the teams we really want to dominate,” Almeida said.
It won’t be business as usual when league play roles around. This spring, doubles matches will be shortened from an eight game pro set to a six game set with no advantages. As a result, matches are intended to be shorter and more intense. The players will have to be competitive from the start if they expect to stand a chance.
Nonetheless, both teams are confident in their ability to rebound from the slow start, setting them up for a winning season in the Patriot League. Both teams play home matches against Hofstra tomorrow.