While other students spent spring break either relaxing or reveling, the tennis team traveled to Puerto Rico to refocus and reload for the spring season.
The Knights went 2-1 over the trip, dropping the first match to Division I opponent University of Cincinnati on March 18 before rebounding to take out Division II foes University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras over the next two days.
After resuming practice in February, head coach Jim Chen and his squad were finally able to play tennis outside while in Puerto Rico. While a pleasant change of scenery from snowy Western New York, the weather in the Caribbean posed a different problem: The estimated on-court temperature during the Rio Piedras match was 100 degrees. Despite the maddeningly hot conditions, the experience gained in playing the larger, more competitive schools should benefit the Knights down the road.
While the Bearcats of Cincinnati, winners of the Big East Women’s Tennis Championship last spring, dispatched Geneseo with relative ease, Chen saw positives in the 7-0 loss.
“You’ve got to be strong enough and know where your strengths are … to weather such a beating,” Chen said in a phone interview. “We may not have played our best, but we put up a fight.”
The next matches against the Puerto Rico schools went much better for the Knights, with Geneseo winning 8-1 against Mayagüez and 7-2 against Rio Piedras. Sophomore co-captain Marylen Santos and freshman Maggie Hale each won all four of their matches in the victories, while junior Dexuan Yuan contributed two doubles wins and one singles triumph.
Now that the Puerto Rico trip is over, the Knights are back to waiting for the weather to clear up so they can begin to practice and play outside. In the meantime, practices are held at an indoor tennis facility in Mendon, N.Y. three times a week in addition to conditioning workouts on campus once a week.
“What’s needed now is time on the court,” Chen said. “We’ll make the best of what we have got.”
Geneseo has about two weeks off before its next match at Hamilton College on April 6. The lone home match for the Knights will take place 10 days later, when they host William Smith College.