The women’s tennis team failed to meet coach Steve Mauro’s expectations for the VCU 4+1 Invitational, winning just one match after Mauro had predicted winning two. However, that result has not tempered their expectations for the spring season.
“I always expect to finish in the top two of the conference, and I expect the same this year,” Mauro said. “I think it’s going to take a little longer for us to gel as a unit. Towards the middle or the end of the season, I think we’ll click together and try to win the [Atlantic 10].”
Junior co-captain Alicia Doms has even higher expectations.
“Our expectations are to win the A-10,” Doms said. “We had the same expectations last year. We always do pretty good in the [regular] season. We just need to believe more in ourselves.”
Even though Temple won one of three matches at Virginia Commonwealth, they won more individual matches than they lost, going 7-6 on the weekend. That record was boosted by a 5-0 sweep over Morgan State on Sunday.
“[Sunday] was an impressive performance,” Mauro said. “Morgan State is a pretty solid team, and to beat them straight across the board was good for us.”
Saturday did not go as well. The team lost 3-2 to Campbell, and then lost 3-0 to VCU.
“I played pretty good [on Saturday],” Doms said. “We got into rhythm, so we were ready for [Sunday’s] matches. [Sunday] we wanted to win, and we played really well. I’m pretty happy. [On Saturday] we had some matches that we could have won, but we didn’t.”
Some of the VCU matches were not finished because VCU got three wins before the two remaining matches were completed.
“Jordan and I played pretty good [against VCU], but we didn’t finish the match,” Doms said.
“Overall, [the tournament] went okay,” Mauro said. “I was hoping for a little bit better. I thought the Campbell match could go either way. I would have liked to have won that match. But it’s so early on in the season, you never know when you’re just starting up.”
The team does not have any seniors, and Mauro believes that may hurt the Owls in the short term.
“We’re a relatively young team,” Mauro said. “Hopefully, our team can show some leadership, and the team can really unify and be ready.”
The team’s youth means that there is room for growth, and some players will have to step up if the team wants to meet its lofty expectations.
“[Sophomore] Rebecca Breland and [Sophomore] Ama Osei have more experience now,” Doms said. “I think they will do good, because last year they were new on the team, and I think this year will be better [for them].”
The Owls’ next match is at 50th ranked Penn State on Saturday, January 26 at 2 p.m. Mauro said he doesn’t feel too threatened, despite the Nittany Lions’ ranking.
“We almost beat them last year,” Mauro said. “I think it’ll be a tough match. They pretty much have the same team as last year, so I think it’ll be a challenge, but it’s a winnable match.”
Overall, the team is very excited about the potential of the upcoming season.
“We are very talented,” Doms said. “We can do it, we are going to work hard, and we’ll see.”
Evan Cross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EvanCross.