Is there anything the Women’s Tennis team hasn’t done?
This year, they went undefeated in SUNYAC play, won the SUNYAC title (qualifying them to go on to the 2011 NCAA Tennis Championships), had their captain named SUNYAC Player of the Year, their coach named SUNYAC Coach of the Year, and to top it all off, six of the nine team members from this season were named to a SUNYAC All Conference team. Fourth-year students Stephanie Schara and Lindsay Garyn, second-year Kayla DiPaulo and first-year Paige Munroe were named to the first team, while second-years Alli Esposito and Montana Wilson were named to the second team.
Captain Stephanie Schara has already been on the SUNYAC all conference team in her college career, but said it feels just like it did the first time.
“It totally feels like the first time. As an athlete, it’s just impossible to compare the feeling of winning your conference and being number one. I have a completely different team this year than when I won my freshman year and made all conference, and the difference in atmosphere and players makes it even more special,” Schara said. “I think it really shows how great of a coach Rob is to have an entirely different team accomplish the same feat.”
“It’s such an honor to be named first all-conference because I’ve never received it before. Last year I received second team so it’s awesome to finish my senior year on top,” said fourth-year Garyn, who along with Schara went undefeated in SUNYAC Doubles this season.
Coach Bruley, the SUNYAC Coach of the Year, is no stranger to watching his team members gain success. In his thirteen-year tenure here as the Tennis Head Coach, he has led the team to four SUNYAC championship titles and has had 49 of his players placed on SUNYAC teams. He is the type of coach his players never question because they know that they can trust whatever he says and take his advice.
“I’m really proud as a coach to see the complete SUNYAC team get recognized in this way. It really adds validity to our program and shows how strong our tennis program is at New Paltz,” Bruley said.
Even before gaining the accolades of SUNYAC All-Team members, the team has been training for the 2011 spring season. Not only that, but they’re already planning for next fall, which is important since the team will be losing two of its most important players, Schara and Garyn. However, early training and conditioning will lead the team to become even stronger of a tennis powerhouse than they already are. Schara has confidence in this.
“I have absolutely no doubt that they can do it again,” said Schara, “especially if they continue to work as hard as they did this past season.”
While the task is always difficult, both Schara and Bruley believe that this will be a continuing trend for the Women’s Tennis Team.
“I’m always looking at ways that will give us the edge over other teams. In total we have had some 37 athletes make first team all conference over 13 years. My athletes have never questioned: why are we doing this this way?” Bruley said. “They trust my judgment and go with it and we do have a lot of fun with the program. It also comes down to recruiting, which other than tennis is the biggest part of my job. Like all the coaches in our department I’m recruiting 12 months of the year trying to bring in the best players out there, without offering athletic scholarships, to our tennis program.”
The Lady Hawks now have the entire winter to gear up for the spring and fall seasons and they know that they have the talent and confidence to not only mimic, but expand on their personal and team accomplishments. Even with the loss of two key players, they know that they are ready.