As graduation approaches and classes draw to a close, it is easy for visions of summer to enter our minds. Maintaining focus as a student becomes harder than ever—unless you’re a Geneseo tennis player.
The Knights will be putting all their hard work not only into final exams, but also into preparing for the NCAA Tournament. The Knights have never struggled to juggle schoolwork with athletics––as one would expect from a team whose academic accolades include half of the roster being named to Geneseo’s Dean’s List in Fall 2014. The added pressure of final exams is nothing this team can’t handle. Rather, the focus is on preparing for the NCAA Tournament. “I am cautiously optimistic,” head coach Jim Chen said. “We have three strong doubles teams and six strong singles players. I think this is one of the best teams Geneseo has put forward. They never give up and they fight until the end.”
The Knights battled to get their impressive 14-3 record, never taking their eyes off the prize. Even at the beginning of their season, the Knights knew what they wanted to achieve. One of their primary objectives as a team was to go to the late rounds in the NCAA Tournament—something they knew as early as September.
“In years gone by, I did not plan as tough a schedule. There were no really easy matches this spring,” Chen said. “But that certainly didn’t faze us. Coming out on the winning end of some of these matches has given us a measure of our competitiveness and how good we are.”
With such demanding competition, the Knights only fought harder. Senior Amanda Rosati reached 109 career wins in her four years on April 22 against St. Lawrence University—within two of tying the career records for wins in both singles and doubles. This confidence built from winning will not make the Knights arrogant, however. Instead, the next two weeks will be spent focusing on the basics of tennis.
“We will emphasize the fundamentals and then pick up from there to go into the advanced techniques that we have been trying to build all year,” Chen said. “Our singles lineup of juniors Marylen Santos, Cat Crummey, Mai Hashimoto and seniors Minxuan Yuan, Rosati and Dexuan Yuan is really strong. I have every confidence that our singles lineup is one of the strongest we have put together as a team—as well as our doubles.”
After working on the essentials, the team plans on focusing on maintaining their timing and playing more aggressively at the net in doubles as well as building upon their mental vigilance. “Your approach to the game is crucial,” Chen said.
Win or lose, this will be Rosati, Minxuan Yuan and Dexuan Yuan’s last time playing for the Knights before they graduate. These players’ plethora of contributions has helped get the Knights this far.
“It’s been a wonderful privilege to be associated with these players,” Chen said.