This spring break, the SUNY New Paltz Tennis team “proved they can hang with the best teams of Div. III,” Tennis Head Coach Robert Bruley said.
The annual trip to Florida the team takes every spring break saw the Lady Hawks compete against five East Coast teams, coming home with a 1-4 record.
It was the girls’ first time playing under pressure since October when they competed in the SUNYAC Tournament, but Bruley said the team was quick to “get back into the swing of things.”
Third-year Kayla DiPaulo said she expected the team to win at least three of their matches. However, the team met all of Bruley’s expectations.
“The team performed to their full potential,” Bruley said.
Bruley said the team wouldn’t ordinarily play these schools, each of which presented tough matches. Coach said the annual trip is worthwhile and beneficial, and this year was no exception. The opponents presented a “tough level of play” which was good for the team, he said.
“I think all the teams we played were great competition,” DiPaulo said. “We played the best we could against every one of them.”
The team started off with a 6-3 win against Lawrence University. They went on to lose against Huntingdon College and Grinnell College, each 5-4. Both close matches, Bruley said the Hawks had a chance to win either.
“The two 5-4 games were tied until the last set,” Bruley said. “They could have gone either way.”
On the last day of the trip, the team matched up against Colby College and lost 6-3. Later that same day, the Hawks played a match against Whitworth University, which Bruley “should never have scheduled.” The girls lost 9-0.
“The team was exhausted,” Bruley said. “We won’t do two matches in one day again.”
Despite winning only one match in Florida, DiPaulo said she felt good about the team’s performance, but knows they have a long road ahead.
“I think the team has realized that we need to keep in shape a little better,” she said. “We are completing a week long ‘hell week’ this week.”
The team’s schedule now presents matches against Union College, Ithaca College and a tournament to be hosted at New Paltz. Bruley said the Union College team is nationally ranked, and Ithaca College presents a good battle.
Bruley said players plan to work on becoming fit during the spring, and also by themselves over the summer to prepare for their conference championship in October. This championship is the team’s main focus.
“We want to win the title back,” Bruley said. “Anything they can do along the way with tennis and conditioning, they are willing to do it.”
The trip only brought good things to the team and their spring season, Bruley said.
“We’re excited about spring, and we’re ready to go,” Bruley said. “We just want to get back outside.”