A Hit Ahead

After a summer of intense preparation, SUNY New Paltz’s tennis team has swung into the season with a resonating serve.

On Aug. 31, the team opened up their fall 2012 campaign with a 9-0 victory over SUNYAC rival Oswego. The win is the first step toward the team’s goal of reaching the SUNYAC finals and securing a championship.

The Lady Hawks reached the conference finals in fall 2011, but eventually fell to SUNY Geneseo by a final score of 5-1. This season, the Hawks are looking to strike back and reclaim their fall 2010 conference title.

Head Coach Rob Bruley said he has big plans for the team and the competitive year ahead of them. Bruley has been making steady improvements to the program, and he plans to push them harder than ever.

“This season, I’m creating training programs similar to those used by private school Div. I athletes,” Bruley said. “I’m also hoping to increase recruiting so we can find talented potential players while sustaining our program’s commitments to our current athletes.”

Bruley said the team’s strength lies in its veterans and what they’re able to bring to the court.

“I have great faith in the returning players and everyone on our team,” Bruley said. “In tennis, everyone plays an important role in the success of the whole team. Having just one strong player would never be enough to generate the success that a strong, well-rounded team creates.”

Fourth-year Captain Kayla DiPaulo said the team’s passion for playing and desire to win will help bring the team back to the very top of the conference.

“Our main goal this season is to win the conference championship,” DiPaulo said. “All of us have been putting in a lot of work over the summer to make sure we come in fit and ready to go once the season starts.”

Fourth-year Montana Wilson said the team prepared for the season with jogging, workout regimens and a little “insanity.”

“‘Insanity’ is a workout DVD that is used to help get you fit, ” Wilson said. “It’s goal is to get your body totally conditioned in 60 days. It’s challenging, but it definitely gets the job done.”

Bruley said that this year is most important for DiPaulo, Wilson and fourth-year Alli Espositio. The three of them have been key contributors to the team for many seasons, and it is important for them to leave New Paltz on a high note.

“They have helped make this team what it is today,” Bruley said.

Aside from the fourth-year players on the team, Bruley believes he will see stand-out performances from second-year Jessica Schmidt. Schmidt finished off the 2011-12 year with an 8-7 singles record and a 12-10 doubles record.

“I think she’s really going to impress and make an impact for our team,” Bruley said. “I think all of the girls will impress and we have to hit the ground running.”

The bar is set high for the Lady Hawks, but Bruley said he believes the challenge of competition will ultimately be what sets the team apart from their competitors.

“The drive is maintained because the girls like the challenge,” Bruley said. “They find it to be motivation to push forward instead of a deterrent from continuing to climb.”






 Adi Chun-McHugh