“When you get both of them clicking and on the same page, they’re very strong.” That’s how head coach James Chen described the play of Geneseo’s tennis players juniors Dexuan and Minxuan Yuan. In Geneseo’s most recent match against William Smith College on April 16, the Yuan sisters helped lead a spirited effort by the Knights that fell just short as the Herons came away with a 5-4 win.
Despite each doubles match being hotly contested, the Yuans were able to pull out their second doubles match 8-6, making the score 2-1 in favor of William Smith as the match headed into singles play.
With the Herons taking wins at first and third singles and freshmen Karli Hollins, Maggie Hale and Minxuan Yuan posting victories at fourth, fifth and sixth singles, the deadlocked match came down to second singles.
After taking the first set 6-3, Dexuan Yuan said that her opponent stepped up her game.
“In the next two sets, she got every ball back. I made too many mistakes so that’s why I lost,” Dexuan Yuan said. She echoed Chen’s philosophy that the player that plays more consistently and does not attempt to hit too many winners will come out on top.
Even though the match did not end the way the Knights had hoped, the twins’ improved play was a good sign.
“Together, the two of them are playing really well [right now],” Chen said of the duo, who have been playing tennis together for 12 years. In that span, the twins have developed distinct playing styles, but that does not stop them from meshing well on the court.
“I’m more aggressive in singles,” Dexuan Yuan said, before adding that her sister, who much prefers to play doubles, takes more risks in that mode of play, poaching lazy shots from opponents and dominating at the net.
While contrasting styles might appear to hinder the development of a good doubles team, Minxuan Yuan added that familiarity really helps them out.
“We know each other a lot. I don’t even have to look at her and I know where the next point is going to go. I cover her easily,” Minxuan Yuan said.
Both sisters will have to continue this level of play as the young Knights gear up for postseason action. The team only has one game left at the College of New Jersey on Saturday April 26 before the NCAA Tournament.
New Jersey, itself a tournament team, represents a significant challenge for the Knights, who will not only be seeking some momentum heading into the tournament, but also some revenge. The Lions beat Geneseo twice last season, one time bouncing them from last year’s edition of the NCAA tournament.