Though the women’s tennis team lost in the Atlantic Ten Conference Championship, coach Traci Green said her team is really champions. The Owls, who were seeded No. 1 entering the tournament, lost to No. 2 Richmond in the finals Sunday in Monroeville, Pa. The loss ended the best season in program history for the Owls, who finished 16-4 and were nationally-ranked for the first time in school history.
“First, they were really upset, but they know they did a very good job this season,” Green said. “I told them I’m proud of them as people and as players. Our team is a very strong team. We already knew going in that we are champions.”
Richmond beat the Owls, 4-0, to win their fourth consecutive A-10 tournament and secure a spot in next month’s NCAA Tournament. The Owls, who had finished the regular season 14-3 and beat Rhode Island and Massachusetts to earn a spot in the A-10 finals, are waiting on the selection process.
“It’s a possibility through a lottery. There is a chance,” Green said. “We’re thinking very positive, hope for the best,” senior Sharanya Pattabi said. The Owls hope their ascent to 85th in the national rankings and a program-best season will be enough to put them in the NCAAs.
“We had a great season as a team,” Pattabi
said. “Everyone fought hard and played well. Being ranked No. 1, we fought hard and deserved it.” The Owls relied on four seniors, but two freshmen – Christine Clermont and Radka Ferancova – had successful rookie seasons to lead the team. Clermont, Ferancova and senior Yuri Kurashima each finished with a team-high 23 regular-season victories.
“We had a very young team,” Green said. “I was expecting everyone to fight hard, which we did. It’s the matter of going out there strong. [Richmond] played well; they were too much for [Sunday].”
Green noted that the team had to overcome
adversity with young members and various injuries during the season.
“Everyday is a different day,” Green said. “The No. 1 and 2’s stepped up and played very well. Everyone stepped up. Sometimes the bottom stepped up and helped us.”
Even with a young team, there was excitement for the finals.
“We were a little nervous; we have a lot of freshmen,” Kurashima said. “Once we started playing, everybody was excited, it was really exciting.” No matter the outcome, Green is proud of her players. In addition to having the best season in program history, the women’s tennis team also holds the highest team grade point average
of an intercollegiate squad at Temple.
“I believe they’re all champions,” Green said. “We have a lot to be proud of.”
Pete Dorchak can be reached at