Women's tennis shuts out Fredonia in debut

The Geneseo women's tennis team debuted strongly on Saturday, blanking SUNY Fredonia 9-0 in their first match of the season.

The first doubles team of junior Erika Pumple and freshman Julia Passik breezed to an 8-1 win, setting the tone for the rest of the match. Senior co-captain Vivian Cheung and freshman Katie Gayvert followed with an 8-6 doubles victory, and the rout was on.

Freshmen Melissa Baker and Lauren Johnson started their Geneseo careers well, winning their inaugural doubles match 8-1 before each adding 6-0, 6-0 triumphs in singles action.

Junior co-captain Anna Lehet won her singles match after several long volleys and deuce-advantage tangos. Unflustered by the breeze that picked up partway through the match, she clinched both sets 6-0.

With a minimal number of sets lost and all matches resulting in Geneseo victories, coach Jim Chen was understandably pleased with the team's play.

Chen said that he felt the women were "well schooled" and "deep enough as a team to be very successful," statements that were clearly validated by Saturday's performance.

Lehet said that the squad's goals for the season are to win SUNYAC and to make it to the NCAA Championships. She also said although the team is young - there are eight freshmen - it is comprised of a great group of players.

Both Lehet and Chen agreed that two potential stumbling blocks could be Oneonta in the public sector, and the University of Rochester in the private division. Chen said his strategy for these matches is to improve on the women's ability to react better on the court rather than being automatic.

Chen also said that he felt it was important for the team to be unified, a goal he thinks was achieved in the pre-season through pizza parties, cook-outs and a family luncheon. He expressed the need for the women to be "mentally tough," and added that it could not be done with a lack of confidence or outside concerns.

For the second year now, Chen has implemented a mentor program in which veteran players are each assigned a first year student. Chen hopes that a close-knit bond will be created among team members. If Saturday's results are any indication, the team appears well-equipped to reach their goals.