The first scheduled match of the women’s tennis season is Jan. 28, but that doesn’t mean tennis isn’t being played already.
The women’s tennis team participated in the ITA Regionals, which took place in Philadelphia last weekend.
The singles and doubles participants each lost tough matches in the tournament.
“It was a very tough draw. We played the better teams,” said coach Steve Mauro, who is in his first year in charge of the Owls. “The tournament is very tricky. You don’t know who you are going to play first. Sometimes you can get a tough draw, sometimes not. It could have gone either way.”
Junior Elyse Steiner was the singles representative for the Owls. Normally, Steiner plays doubles, but she wasn’t feeling well, Mauro said, so she represented the team playing singles.
Steiner’s health played a factor in the tournament, as she lost in the first round in three sets versus an opponent from Harvard.
“She didn’t have enough energy to perform at her highest level,” Mauro said. “Unfortunately, she lost to one of Harvard’s top players.”
The doubles team, which was comprised of senior Dina Senkina and sophomore Lucie Pazderova, didn’t have great success either.
The duo took on a doubles team from Princeton and lost in a close match, 8-6. Once again, coach Mauro said the team lost a close, hard-fought match.
With the ITA Regionals behind them and another tournament in the near future, the Cherry and White are looking forward to the upcoming season, as they will try to build off last year’s success.
In 2008, the Owls won the Atlantic Ten Conference Championship and gained a berth in the NCAA Tournament, only to lose to Duke in the first round.
With the success of last season still lingering, the team will look within to maintain the success of last season.
Not only does the team have a new coach, but it will be losing Senkina, its top player, at the end of this semester to graduation. Senkina is the reigning A-10 Women’s Tennis Player of the Year.
Even though the team is losing such a high talent, Mauro still has high expectations.
“[The team is] pretty strong one through eight, and all the girls really push one another,” Mauro said. “I’m really happy with the way they perform and practice.”
Looking ahead to the season, Mauro believes Richmond will be one of the toughest opponents in the quest for a repeat championship.
“Richmond had a good recruiting year, so I expect them to be a tough opponent,” he said. “But you never know until you get there.”
Along with Richmond, coach Mauro believes the Ivy League schools will be difficult opponents as well.
“I look forward to all the tough teams,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a very successful season.”
Nick Hollenstein can be reached at email@example.com.