Tennis sneaks into NCAAs

The saying goes that revenge is a dish best served cold, meaning that it is better to wait for the perfect time to strike rather than retaliate immediately. In spring 2013, Geneseo’s tennis team dropped two matches to the College of New Jersey, with the last match knocking them out of the NCAA tournament. On Saturday April 26, nearly a year after last year’s loss, the Knights finally exacted revenge, taming the Lions in a 6-3 win to close out their regular season with a 16-4 record.

Sophomore Marylen Santos teamed with junior Amanda Rosati and won first doubles, 8-4. Juniors Dexuan and Minxuan Yuan also won at second doubles, 8-3, before freshmen Karli Hollins and Maggie Hale lost at third doubles, 8-5.

Hollins, who is battling tendonitis in her right arm, was one of the players who head coach James Chen believes, if healthy, would have earned more points for the team.

Up 2-1, the Knights continued their hard play in singles, decisively winning four out of the six matches. Santos, Dexuan Yuan, Rosati and Minxuan Yuan all won in straight sets at first, second, third, and sixth singles, respectively.

The win was not a surprise to Chen, but the margin of victory was.

“When I looked at their record and who they’ve beaten, I was hoping for a 5-4 squeaker,” Chen said, before adding that injuries prevented Geneseo from possibly winning by a larger margin.

The win allowed Geneseo to end the regular season on a high note heading into the NCAA tournament. While some casual observers might see the team’s 5-3 record this spring as a red flag, Chen notes that the losses simply reflect the schedule the team has played.

“The confidence level of the team is very high,” Chen said. “We are scheduling nationally-ranked teams…it challenges us [and] is a gauge as to where we are in our preparation.”

Chen added that the Knights’ schedule is this way because playing weaker teams does not do any favors for his team: “That’s not going to help us get ready for the NCAAs,” he said.

Before the tournament field is announced on Monday May 5, the Knights will continue to practice. Chen said that the majority of these practices will focus on the team’s doubles strategy, which involves playing well while also knowing exactly where to be on the court.

“For real good doubles at the national and collegiate level, the players who are not hitting the ball have to move,” he said. “You have to read the play and anticipate where to go on the doubles court. If we can learn how to play that kind of anticipatory doubles, then we will be good.”

The NCAA team championships start on May 19, while the individuals start on May 22.