Leading up to its upcoming inaugural season in the American Athletic Conference, the women’s tennis team ended its fall with an overall singles record of 34-26.
With The American housing some of the country’s elite tennis teams, coach Steve Mauro remains resolute in his team’s ability to perform at a consistently high level.
“We have the capabilities of being one of the top teams in the country but it is just a matter of how much people work,” Mauro said. “If the work ethic is there, we can be very successful.”
Throughout the fall season, the women’s tennis competed in four tournaments: the Cissie Leary Invitational, SJU Ladies Invitational, Lehigh Fall Invitational and, most recently, the United States Tennis Association/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Atlantic Regional Championships.
Despite competing in only two tournaments, the women’s season was highlighted by senior Jordan Batey’s performance at the SJU Ladies Invitational, winning the team’s lone singles championship of the fall. On her way to the championship, Batey went on a four-game streak. Mauro said Batey would have participated in all of the tournaments if not for injuries and schedule conflicts.
Batey’s only loss came at the ITAs, where she and her teammates – seniors Yana Mavrina, Alicia Doms and freshman Anais Nussaume – were among the Top 88 tennis players in the Atlantic region competing for a championship.
Mavrina and Doms played in all four tournaments during the fall. Throughout the season, the pair alternated between the top flights in singles matches, facing some of the best players in the region. During the second round of the ITAs, Doms fell to Virginia Commonwealth junior Cindy Chala, who is ranked No. 50 in the country. Doms finished the season with an even 6-6 record, while Mavrina ended with a record of 5-7. In spite of their records, they were named captains.
“Alicia and Yana are captains because they did a good job last year,” Mauro said. “Hopefully they will do a good job this year.”
Although two freshmen are on the team, only one saw action this fall. Nussaume, a Thailand native, wrapped up her fall season with a 5-1 singles record.
“I did well, I guess,” Nussaume said. “I was consistent. I am happy about myself. I could have played better and shouldn’t have lost the matches that I lost, but it is better to lose them now than when the spring season starts.”
“I think it will take [Nussaume] a little bit more time to get use to the style of play here, but she has been a pleasure to have on the team as she continues to work hard,” Mauro said. “She is still working on her all court game. She just needs to be able to hit all different types of shots.”
Nussaume said she had to get accustomed to many of the rules involved with collegiate tennis.
“The matches that we play in tournaments and in regionals were super tiebreakers,” Nussaume said. “Instead of just winning another set to win the match, it’s 10 points. The first [super tiebreaker] I was nervous because I didn’t know how to play it. Then, after that, I played two more and I was perfect. I lost one but you learn from it.”
Mauro said the team’s record is not indicative of the talent it possesses, particularly due to injuries that some on the team, including Doms, have suffered.
Freshman Dina Karina, who is from Indonesia, did not play a single match this fall.
“She will be fine,” Mauro said. “She has been playing since she was six. She knows how to play tennis, so once she gets healed then I think she will be a good player.”
Mauro is planning to add another recruit to the team for the spring season.
The team will resume action in January. Until then, the Owls will be preparing for their first season in The American.
“We are going to work on all the facets of the game,” Mauro said. “It’s just a matter of practicing and getting our conditioning at a high level, and we should have a pretty successful year.”
Danielle Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Dan_Nels.