After a long hiatus for the Geneseo tennis team, the Knights are back and ready to fight. The team traveled to Florida over spring break to face three difficult teams in preparation for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
“It’s fun to win 9-0, but it doesn’t get us ready for the NCAA Tournament,” head coach Jim Chen said. “So I scheduled two Division II teams and a Division III team that is going to the NCAA Tournament. They were three tough matches.”
Winning is exactly what the Knights were doing. They went to Tampa, Florida with an undefeated record, dominating five teams with 9-0 wins in the fall portion of their schedule. But the Knights were not able to win with that same ease in Florida.
Geneseo narrowly defeated Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta on March 17, but lost to Texas A&M Kingsville and Hope College on March 18 and Thursday March 19 respectively.
The Knights started with a 5-4 victory against SCAD Atlanta. Junior Cat Crummey and senior Amanda Rosati won in number-two doubles, putting them at 6-0 at number-two doubles since being paired together. Senior Dexuan Yuan, junior Mai Hashimoto and Crummey helped secure the victory by winning their singles matches.
“The fact that we won, we were really happy. And at that stage, we’d beaten every Division II team that we’d played,” Chen said. “Then came Wednesday. We played another Division II team—Texas A&M—and I think they were too much for us.”
The Knights lost to Texas A&M Kingsville 7-2, marking their first loss of the season. Crummey and Rosati paired again to win number-two doubles, but senior Minxuan Yuan and freshman Anika Pornpitaksuk lost at number-three doubles in a tiebreaker.
“That really was tough,” Chen said. “If [Yuan and Pornpitaksuk] had won, it would be 2-1 and we would be going into the singles really fired up. As is, we were down; we were not as fired up to play the singles and we lost.”
Ranked 25th nationally in Division III, Hope College was the last team the Knights played. The Knights lost 6-3 to the Flying Dutch. Nevertheless, the team remains optimistic, using their experience in Florida to prepare for April and the NCAA Tournament. The team’s goal is to get to midseason form and to learn to improve on weaknesses.
“We learned a lot. We’re not disappointed in that we scheduled tough teams,” Chen said. “[The trip to Florida] was a success in many ways.”
Five matches remain in Geneseo’s season before the NCAA Tournament. To learn and grow for the tournament, the Knights will face more tough competition, starting on April 9 when the Knights host the University of Rochester.
“[They’re] a very dedicated team,” Chen said. “They know what’s at stake. We don’t just want to win one round. We have a blank page here and we hope to write down ‘win.’”