Tennis cruises, wins four of five matches

The Geneseo women's tennis team traveled to Puerto Rico this spring break, in its annual flight south to escape the Geneseo tundra.

"It's a really great opportunity for us to go south, especially with the weather here," said head coach Jim Chen on the trip.

Accumulating a record of 3-0 and dominating throughout the week of play, Geneseo defeated Mayaguez University of Puerto Rico, Goucher College, and Babson College. Geneseo easily took the first two matches, defeating Mayaguez – a Division II team – 7-2 and Goucher 9-0.

The third and final matchup of the week against Babson College was certainly the most competitive. "Babson beat us two years ago so we were really gunning for them this time. It was our toughest match and they really came to play," Chen said.

Leading the way for Geneseo against Babson was the first doubles pairing of juniors Julia Passik and Reggie Connelly. The duo set the tone for the match as they earned a commanding 8-3 victory. Winning the final match of their Puerto Rico trip 6-3, the team returned to Geneseo with a record of 10-1.

"Each time we were up 2-1, 3-0, and 3-0 after the doubles matches were over, so it is clear that we are putting in the time and the work into the doubles strategy and learning how to do the transition game … it has really paid off," Chen said.

Paid off, it has. Geneseo won eight out of the nine doubles matches the team played during the Puerto Rico trip.

Upon returning from spring break, Geneseo faced its most challenging opponent of this season to date – Division I St. Bonaventure University. The improved Bonnies proved too strong for Geneseo in the match, avenging their 5-4 loss last season with an 8-1 victory.

"St. Bonaventure has strengthened their team, most notably their 5 and 6 positions. Though the final was 8-1, it easily could have been 6-3," Chen said.

Sophomore Katie Talbot was the one highlight for Geneseo as she won her sixth singles match 6-1, 6-1. "She's unbeatable," Chen said. "No one wants to play her. She has not lost more than three games [in a single set] this spring. If we need a point we send Katie Talbot out there … a delightful, coachable, dedicated, excellent tennis player."

Geneseo's schedule did not get any easier following the loss to St. Bonaventure, as the Knights faced Roberts Wesleyan College on April 7.

"This is the strongest team that Roberts has fielded in a number of years. They came down here really wanting to play and to beat us," Chen said.

That desire to win did not translate to the court for the Raiders as Geneseo was an 8-1 winner. Again, the doubles pairings went undefeated, with the combination of freshman Lucy Mehrabyan and junior Melissa Baker winning their second doubles match by a score of 8-2.

"In some sense they don't realize what has hit them after those doubles matches," Chen said. "We have realized the importance of the early doubles matches and focused on them because of this."

While the final tally heavily favored Geneseo, the result of the match was uncertain while the teams dueled during three third set tie breakers.

"I tell the parents they have it easy. They're sweating for one player out there, while I'm sweating for all 10," Chen said.

The Knights are 11-2 overall for the season and travel to the Stadium Tennis Center in the Bronx this Saturday to face off against New York University.