In their opening match last week against the Nazareth Golden Flyers, the women's tennis team lived up to the standards they established in their previous season.
The Knights won the match 8-1, their only loss being a default in the first singles match because of a risk of injury to junior Monica Vieth. Vieth was, however, able to compete in and win the first doubles spot with fellow junior Julia Passik.
The team returns almost in full and with four consecutive undefeated fall seasons under their belts. While they certainly feel the pain of losing former first singles player Anna Lehet, who graduated in the spring, first year Lucy Mehrabyan joins a very well-acquainted roster. Head coach Jim Chen said he has high expectations for the close-knit team. "They have to prove themselves yet," he said. "But on paper we have as strong a team as last fall."
In the fall of 2009, the Knights' success took them to the NCAA Division III national championship where they lost to Wilkes University in the first round, 5-3. While the Sept. 1 match was no tough loss like the one suffered against Wilkes, Chen said that the team got off to a slow start.
Down significantly in the beginning of all three doubles matches, the Knights eventually defeated the Flyers; second doubles, consisting of Mehrabyan and junior Melissa Baker won 8-6 and junior Katie Gayvert with sophomore Sarah Shields won 8-4 in third doubles.
"They showed their true colors and we came through," Chen said, who coined their success "a testament to the tenacity of the doubles teams."
Singles play saw a continuation of the upward trend, and Geneseo came out on top consistently. Mehrabyan, who Chen said has helped to strengthen this year's team, won second singles 6-1, 6-0; in third singles, Baker won 7-5, 6,1; Gayvert won fourth singles 6-1, 6-1; Shields secured fifth singles 6-2, 6-2 and sophomore Katie Talbot rounded out singles with a 6-1, 7-6 (2) win.
According to Chen, the team has adjusted its approach to make up for the cold start against Nazareth. "At our last meeting we agreed that we have to pick up that intensity," he said, emphasizing the players' commitment to the strategy that will be implemented in upcoming matches.
"One of the hallmarks of this team is that they are committed," he said. The team plays next at the SUNYAC tournament in Fredonia beginning Friday.