Highs and Lows for the New Paltz Tennis Team

Photo Courtesy of Natasia Plunkett

The SUNY New Paltz women’s tennis team enjoyed a fruitful week of play. They won several matches between games at home against The College of New Jersey, and a weekend of games in Poughkeepsie in the Vassar Scramble. 

The Hawks suffered a close loss to The College of New Jersey visitors on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 5-4. Fourth-year Trinity Chow kicked things off with a nervy win over Lion’s third-year Charlotte Roarty 6-4, 6-4. This was followed by first-year Anya Barteck’s three set triumph against TCNJ’s first-year Aira Abalos. 

Next, Hawk’s third-year Onalee Batcheller fell to second-year Chase Eisenberg, and first-year Isabel van der Veen to third-year Anusha Rangu 6-2, 7-5 and 6-2, 6-3 respectively. 

Keeping with earlier victories, second-year Tatiana Barnett defeated fourth-year Sarah Phung 6-4, 7-5 before events came to a draw after fourth-year Alex Chimneti’s defeat to second-year Morgan Grimmie 6-2, 6-2. 

The meet moved to doubles where New Paltz opened on a victory after Chow and Barteck put down third-year Charlotte Roarty and Eisenberg 8-3. Sadly, this was the last time New Paltz would win that day after Rangu and third-year Alexa Vasile of TCNJ edged Batcheller and fourth-year Alexandra Dratch, 8-2.

The match was decided on the final doubles match where van der Veen and second-year Loretta Donovan were not able to win the final game of their match, losing 8-7. This marked the first loss of the SUNY New Paltz women’s team in a season where they hope to repeat last year’s height of near perfection before a tournament exit. The College of New Jersey has an undefeated record against New Paltz and has equally high hopes for its season after reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

In spite of New Paltz’s expectation of dominance, the cutting edge in this match came from experience and talent. New Paltz tended to lose matches in cases where experience was pitted against naivety; third-year Rangu dispatched first-year Isabelle van der Veen 6-2, 6-3, for example. This was still seen as something to build on heading into the weekend meet at Vassar. 

The Vassar Scramble in addition to New Paltz was attended by teams from NYU and Vassar with Vassar sitting at ninth in regional rankings. The NYU Violets also arrived with a reputation boast: Belgian twin transfers Jocia and Jamaica Buyse who have yet to feature due to the pandmeic. During the first day of matches, the Hawks claimed three wins from singles play. Chow managed to beat NYU’s first-year Jimena Menendez 6-4, 6-1 to get New Paltz on the board, and fourth-year Isabela Del La Roche came away victorious against Vassar’s third-year Nicole Pihlstrom 6-4, 6-2. 

Batcheller in particular impressed winning in three: 0-6, 6-0 and 10-1. Batcheller’s match was an impressive scene of fortitude. After being swept in straight sets by NYU’s second-year Pooja Muvva in the first game, she stormed back to dominate the rest of the match only dropping one set along the way in convincing fashion.

The success Saturday didn’t stop there as spectators saw the duo of van der Veen and Donovan defeat NYU’s charges of Muvva and Phoebe Su handily 8-2. Against stiff competition, this wasn’t a bad haul at all for the Hawks.

“We are playing some of the best tennis players in the northeast, and we gave a very good account of ourselves,” said Hawks Coach Rob Bruley to Athletic Communication Intern Payton Malloy Ellison.

Sadly, the momentum did not carry over into the next day of matches. Aside from rearguard actions from Chow in her 6-3, 6-2 loss to Vassar’s first-year Macey Dowd, the singles matches were a wash with New Paltz athletes being swept away by the sheer talent of the competition. All but Chow’s match ended with the schools athletes being defeated handily with no other pushback aside from a gritty display from Chow once more and her doubles partner Barteck in a tight 8-5 loss.

The SUNY New Paltz Tennis team looks ahead to the ITA tournament in Geneva, New York this upcoming weekend, and hopes the games played this week will provide tools and knowledge to build in their quest to reach new heights this season.