New faces, same expectations for women’s tennis this year

The Geneseo women’s tennis team kicked off their fall season this past weekend by sweeping all nine matches against Hartwick College on Saturday Sept. 1. The victory is a positive sign for a team looking to win its eighth straight SUNYAC title. 

The team has a history of dominating conference play, but this year presents new challenges as the team has seen a large amount of roster turnover. Three seniors graduated and nine new players have joined the roster, eight of them being freshmen. The roster contains only two seniors, Nina Lurie and Vanessa Lam-Tran. With such a young team, the Knights should only get better as the season rolls on.

The team’s performance against Hartwick College proves that despite all the changes in the roster, the team can still compete at a high level. The Knights performed well in both singles and doubles matches. 

Freshman Sophia Alkhouri Stuart, sophomore Dana Sorrentino and junior Sam Montague all earned victories in the top three singles spots. Stuart won 6-0, 6-4, Sorrentino won 7-5, 6-4 and Montague won 6-2, 6-0. 

Along with the victories at the singles’ positions, Stuart was especially encouraged by the team’s doubles performance. A collaborative relationship between partners is a vital part of competing in doubles play and the many new faces to the team will look to build that chemistry. 

“The match went pretty well, and I thought the doubles worked together really well,” Stuart said. 

It was a well-earned victory for the team, especially since the entire roster was not in action—Lurie and Lam-Tran did not participate. It was a great opportunity for the young players to acclimate to college tennis and to introduce those new faces to Geneseo tennis.

While they may not have been around for past seasons, the new Knights still understand the tradition of winning associated with the program. 

“Our expectations are to win SUNYACs. As a transfer, it is only my first year on the team, but I really love the tradition of this program and this year’s team,” Montague said. “Everyone is working hard towards winning the championship and I’m very excited for this season.” 

This positive attitude should send the Knights in the right direction this year. 

The Knights will travel to William Smith College on Saturday Sept. 8 and Sunday Sept. 9 for the William Hosking Invitational. Their opponents for the invitational are still to be determined. The team will not begin conference play until they travel to SUNY Oswego on Tuesday Sept. 11. 

The women will only have one home match during this fall season: Sept. 14 against SUNY Cortland. One match that is sure to be marked on the calendar is the Oct. 7 face-off with SUNY Oneonta. Oneonta defeated Geneseo 5-4 last season. It was the Knights’s first loss against a conference opponent since 2012.  

The team will look to continue their stellar record against conference opponents through the fall and bring home another SUNYAC title come October. The program seems to have continued its excellence from previous years, judging by their performance against Hartwick. 

Another conference title would mean yet another trip to the NCAA Tournament for this program. New faces will not lower expectations for the Knights this season.