While students are hard at work this semester, the women’s tennis team is carefully perfecting its skills on the court for the fall season.
With three new coaches and the departure of their best player, the Owls have their work cut out for them.
New obstacles lay ahead with a new coach, Traci Green. Green, hired in July, replaces Tracey Tooke, who resigned after six seasons with the team. Green was an assistant coach during the Owls’ Atlantic Ten title run this past spring.
To fill the void at the graduate assistant position, Yolanda Duron was hired at the beginning of September. She is a graduate of Drexel.
On her first head coaching job, Green sounded prepared and comfortable in taking a step up at her new position.
“I am adjusting pretty well. The tricky part is getting the girls ready,” she said. “I’m going to do what I can do this year.”
With so many changes within the structure of this year’s squad, there seems to be confidence and a strong willingness to tackle the new challenges that lie ahead.
“Fall season is a lot of individual tournaments,” said Green, on the differences between fall and spring. “Fall is time to prepare and hone your skills, and prepare for the spring season.”
Green also mentioned the importance of two upcoming conference matches this fall, at LaSalle and Saint Joseph’s.
Green is the daughter of Tina Sloan-Green, a former lacrosse coach who won two national championships here and currently is a professor in the Kinesiology Department. Being around a Temple Hall of Fame coach all her life, Green is going to bring her own style of coaching, which she hopes will bring some titles of her own.
“I’m pretty much a national-level type of coach, so right now my main goal is to get some solid recruits into Temple,” Green said. “I’m a pretty laid back personality, but once practice starts, I like perfection,”
She indicated her goal to get the program “to another level.”
With the departure of the squad’s top player, Danira Penic, who is now a student assistant coach, other players will have to step up to the new challenges this year.
“Losing Danira is a massive loss for the team. Not only was she a great leader, she was a great player,” Green said.
Green is confident that other players will fill the void.
This past weekend at the Hampton Roads Collegiate Invitational at Old Dominion University, the Owls were victorious in all five matches they played on the first day of the tournament. In the Flight C singles Laura Sieverling beat her teammate Jennifer Goeta 6-3, 2-1. Goeta retired in the second set due to injury. Junior Ana Maslesa couldn’t finish her match because of an injury, too.
This weekend the Owls head across the city to participate in the Cissie Leary Invitational at the University of Pennsylvania.
Lauren Verrall, the team’s lone senior, was described by Green as a “hard worker, looking to show leadership this year.” Goeta and Seiverling will have increased roles as well.
Maslesa, a native of Croatia, is the top returning player who was 9-2 in singles play last spring. She will be asked to carry a heavy load.
In addition, there are five freshmen whose roles are still undefined. Green will be looking to add more players come spring.
“It is going to be a building year for our program,” Green said. “I’m totally excited for it.”
Josh Milstein can be reached at email@example.com.