While no athlete would ever say they enjoy losing, occasionally there are still positives to take away from a losing effort. The Geneseo tennis team did just that on Sunday April 6 when it just missed picking up a win against Hamilton College.
In the doubles matches, Geneseo fell behind 1-2, with only sophomore Marylen Santos and junior Amanda Rosati scoring a point. Santos and Rosati also won their singles matches at first and third singles, respectively, as did freshman Karli Hollins at fourth singles. The Continentals, however, won at second and fifth singles to tie the match at 4-4 heading into junior Minxuan Yuan’s sixth singles match.
Head coach James Chen said that by the time this match started it was already 11:00 p.m. Yuan split the first two sets, but with the clock striking midnight – and Geneseo facing a two-and-a-half-hour bus ride back to campus on a school night – she made the decision to retire in the third set, giving the win to Hamilton.
Despite the loss, Chen said that the team was able to gain something from the match. Between the carpet-like surface of the Hamilton courts and the late start time, the difficult match allowed his players to face adversity – something that was rare for them in the fall. This will become far more common, however, as the spring season leads to the NCAA tournament in May.
“On behalf of the team, they are troopers. They rolled with the punches,” Chen said. “[It] is very important to maintain your composure and to deal with what we have to deal with. At least two or three of our players had trouble with the surface, but we got over it.”
Chen lauded Hollins for playing a particularly excellent singles match. After dropping the first set 4-6 and coming back to win the second set 6-4, the third set did not begin positively for her; she went down 5-1.
“You have to give her a huge amount of credit,” Chen said. “[She was down] 5-1 and she started playing [and] didn’t give away the game and she came back and won in a tiebreaker. Really impressive.”
Chen attributes the victory partially to a change in how Hollins plays the game. Before, she played with more aggression, which sometimes caused unforced errors.
“[Hollins] has learned to keep the ball in play and sustain a rally,” Chen said. “Look at the third set. She’s down 5-1…if she made errors and lost one game, she’s done. [Instead,] she stopped making errors.”
The Knights face the University of Rochester on Thursday April 10 and New York University on Saturday April 12.