The women’s tennis team opened the spring portion of their season with an 8-1 loss to No. 32 Vassar College on Saturday, March 5.
With the loss, the Hawks’ overall record dropped to 6-4 while the Brewers improved to 5-2 on the season. New Paltz looks to rebound in their final upcoming games in order to have a strong season against conference opponents in the fall.
New Paltz’s only win came from second-year Carol Tyson in a flight three singles match against Brewers second-year Morgan Fitzgerald 6-4, 4-3.
Despite the loss, Hawks head coach Rob Bruley feels the team played very well against a nationally ranked Vassar group even though there was not much time for adjustment for the New Paltz players.
“It was a tough matchup,” Bruley said. “We’ve only had six practices and they have a very good team. Even their girls mentioned that it takes them two weeks to get used to the surface over there. We go in there 90 minutes before the match to try and adjust to it, but I thought we played very well against them considering they’re a nationally ranked team. With all things considered, I was very happy with the way we played.”
Third-year Olivia Ammirati and fourth-year captain Laura Tierney fell 8-1 in flight two doubles to fourth-years Kelsey Van Noy and Lauren Stauffer. In flight three, first-year Lindsay Haley and second-year Emi Lewis dropped an 8-1 decision to Brewers third-year Connie Yoo and second-year Dasha Ivenitsky.
The Hawks do not play again until Wednesday, April 6 against Stevens Institute of Technology, a team New Paltz hasn’t lost to since the 2008-09 season.
Ammirati said that with the next few weeks being dedicated to practice, she does not see a reason why the Hawks would lose to their nonconference foe.
“I think that with how our practices have been going, we have a good chance against Stevens next month,” Ammirati said. “If we stay focused and continue giving it our all I don’t see why we couldn’t pull out a win.”
Although there are no conference matches left to play, the Hawks still have four more matches this season before the NCAA Tournament begins on Monday, May 23.
With a young roster consisting of Tierney being the only fourth-year player, the coaching staff is looking for her to pass on her leadership skills to the younger players since this is her last season.
Bruley said that Tierney can be an influential leader in getting the team to get some big wins down the road. Not only are wins important, but the display of teamwork is crucial in the recruiting process as well.
“Laura Tierney is our captain, she’s as enthusiastic in the spring as she is in the fall,” Bruley said. “She wants to leave the program in great shape and to make sure our program is left in a good state. We also have some of our potential freshman coming to our upcoming games. The girls have to be on top of their game because not only do we want to win the match, we also want to highlight how good the program is to a high school senior who hasn’t made a decision yet.”
The Hawks may have a few weeks until they play again, but they are also looking to strengthen their doubles performance. This is also an individual goal for Ammirati, as she is looking to finish her junior year off strong in doubles play.
She said that success in doubles matchups makes the singles matchups easier because it takes the pressure off to stay alive against their opponent.
“I want to really work on my doubles game,” Ammirati said. “Doubles points are so important because if you win your doubles it takes some pressure off the singles. With our practices, I think getting more doubles points is definitely a goal for me. We have been playing a lot of doubles because that is what we need to focus on. Just playing and hitting with each other does so much.”
After the matchup against Stevens Institute of Technology, New Paltz will come home for their final home match of the season against Ithaca College on Friday, April 8. The Hawks will then travel to face Union (N.Y.) College and St. Lawrence University on Saturday, April 9 and Saturday, April 16.