Though the school year may be coming to an end, the tennis team has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success this season on their way to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Tournament, which is set to take place from May 22-27.
With an overall record of 11-7, the team looks to continue their success by beating their last opponents of the regular season, St Lawrence University, on Saturday April 15 and taking that momentum into the NCAA Tournament.
After conquering rival SUNY New Paltz to claim the title of SUNYAC Tournament Champion in the fall, the team appeared outmatched in several of its matches during the spring season. The team has split their last two, with an 8-1 defeat of Union College and a 9-0 loss to the University of Rochester. Despite the 1-4 record in April, there is still a sense of optimism for this team to do remarkable things in the NCAAs.
“During the fall, we competed against teams like SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Cortland in our effort to win the SUNYAC Tournament in October,” junior captain Rachel Ollis said. “During the spring semester—after we were victorious in the SUNYAC Tournament—we played against private schools in preparation for the NCAAs in early May.”
During the season, it is a grind on a week-to-week basis.
“Practices are two hours, but we usually get a day off during the week. However, during practice, we warm up, practice shots, participate in many drills, work on the net game, work on doubles and compete against each other,” Ollis said. “My typical day as a Geneseo athlete is class, then immediately practice.”
When accounting for the team’s success this season, it is difficult not to concentrate on head coach Jason Stephens, but there are several other additional factors that contribute to a team’s overall success on the court.
“We are lucky to have a tennis coach who teaches tennis as a profession,” Ollis said. “As a result, practices run more effectively because he knows what he is doing. He works on the players individually with what they need to work on.”
The team’s relationship has been another factor in their success.
“We never let anyone stand out on the courts by themselves—supporting each other is a huge thing,” Ollis said. “We always do everything together—get along, live together—and we have grown into a family.”
The women hope to finish the season strong and to do well in the NCAA Tournament. Their goal is to focus on training over the summer so that they can come back swinging during their main season in the fall.