Tennis earns top seed in SUNYAC play

The Geneseo women’s tennis team is exuding confidence after defeating rival SUNY Fredonia with a score of 9-0 on Sept. 14. With this convincing victory, the Knights clinched the top seed in the Western Division of the SUNYAC Tournament, which is from Oct. 8-9. Since securing the top seed in the upcoming Conference Championship Tournament, the women have continued to dominate with victories against SUNY Brockport and SUNY New Paltz, winning 8-1 and 5-4, respectively.

Junior Anika Pornpitaksuk was one of five athletes on the team to conquer in both single and double matches, helping the squad overcome the visiting Brockport Golden Eagles. Then, against New Paltz the Knights came up big in two of the three double sets before claiming the victory with three straight wins in single play.

The team competed in the Northeast Region Championships at William Smith College on Saturday Sept. 24 and Sunday Sept. 25. The players competed hard, highlighted by performances from Pornpitaksuk, sophomore Vanessa Lam-Tran and junior Lauren Salzano. With this flawless performance, the team prevailed in the tournament.

“There is so much depth on this team with no drop off,” junior captain Rachel Ollis said.   “Each woman is a good player and we complement each other well. Lauren [Salzano] is particularly good at singles.”

Ollis believes that chemistry is a key factor in all sports, but especially for this Knights team. Due to the fact that there are few on the tennis team—there are only eight players—it’s hard to not grow close.

“I think it’s because everyone is so dedicated to the craft. We hone our strengths and try to improve on our weaknesses,” Ollis said.

In fact, Ollis said the team “gels” very well together. For instance, when Ollis got injured, her teammates brought her cards and food to ensure that she was feeling better. “It is very touching when a teammate is always watching your match, cheering you on,” Ollis said.

Another vital key to this team’s success has been head coach Jason Stephens. “He always makes time for us and is devoted to the sport,” Ollis said. “I was down 3-7 in a tournament match and came up victorious because of his incredible coaching. He never talks about the past, but looks to the future. He is very optimistic and a truly great coach.”

With the SUNYAC Tournament beginning on Saturday Oct. 8, the women look to come out on top in their final matches against SUNY Cortland on Friday Sept. 30 and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday Oct. 1.

Ollis believes that the team will perform well at the tournament. This cannot be achieved, however, without the hard work, dedication and skill the women have shown this season.