The tennis team fell in the final round of the 2015 State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Tournament held at the Binghamton Tennis Center to SUNY Geneseo who captured their fifth-straight conference title — remaining undefeated with a record of 11-0.
The Hawks completed their fall season with an overall record of 6-3.
Although the Hawks were unable to capture a conference title, Head Coach Rob Bruley said the team performed to the best of their ability.
“If this was a cross-country meet, every girl got a personal best,” he said. “Every single one of them gave everything they had.”
In the SUNYAC quarterfinals on Friday, Oct. 9, the Hawks swept SUNY Fredonia 5-0.
In doubles action, Hawks second-years Brittany Grandville and Carol Tyson defeated Blue Devils first-year Olivia Miller and third-year Chloe Cohen 8-0. In flight two, Hawks fourth-year co-captain Laura Tierney and third-year Olivia Ammirati defeated Cohen and Blue Devils Halee Dickinson 8-1. Finally in flight three, Hawks fourth-year co-captain Allie Starke and first-year Lindsay Haley bested the tandem of third-years Leanne Hofstead and Phoebe Langdon with a score of 8-1.
In singles flights two and three Grandville and Tyson won their matches 6-0, 6-0, and 6-0, 6-1, respectively.
The next day, the Hawks continued their SUNYAC sweep by defeating SUNY Brockport 5-0 in the semifinals of the SUNYAC Tournament. Bruley said he was the most concerned about this round of the tournament.
“I get more nervous during the semifinal. That’s the one stage of the tournament you don’t want to get knocked out on because nobody remembers who was in the semifinals,” he said.
The pair of Grandville and Tyson defeated Golden Eagles fourth-years Dilara Kumbul and Natasha Hale 8-1 in doubles flight one. In flight two, Tierney and Ammirati defeated third-year Elizabeth O’Rourke and fourth-year Iyanna Sinclair with a score of 8-0. In flight three Hawks third-years Maryann Badura and Liz Palmer won their match 8-1 against first-year Kelsey Shanahan and third-year Sam Malak.
Grandville also won her singles match against Kumbul 6-2, 6-0 and Tyson defeated Malak in singles action 6-0, 6-1.
Before the final round of the tournament, Bruley said all he asked of his players was that they leave it all out on the court.
“The only thing I asked from the team before we started the final is you’ve got to give it 100 percent, blood, sweat and tears, and walk off with your head held high knowing you’ve done exactly that,” he said.
The Hawks were also pleased to be the underdog in their matchup against Geneseo, Bruley said. He said when the team is not expected to win, it is a lot easier for them to play their best.
“You’re relaxed, you’re not nervous, you know you’re the underdog and you’re not supposed to win and you can play a little bit more freely and hit the ball a little bit harder and swing for it,” he said.
The Hawks’ streak came to an end when they fell 5-0 to the SUNY Geneseo Knights in the championship round of the 2015 SUNYAC Tournament.
Although the team did not come out on top, Bruley said that he and the girls have no regrets.
“I don’t think we could have done or tried anything different,” he said. “Player for player they [Geneseo] were just a little bit stronger,” he said.
In doubles action, Grandville and Tyson fell to fourth-years Cat Crummey and Marylen Santos 8-1. In flight two, Tierney and Ammirati were defeated 8-0 by first-year Mako Tanaka and fourth-year Mai Hashimoto. Palmer and Badura were fell in flight three to third-year Maggie Hale and second-year Lauren Salzano with a score of 8-1.
In singles flight one, Ammirati fell to Tanaka 6-4, 6-2. In flight four Hawks second-year Emi Lewis was defeated by Salzano with a score of 6-1, 6-2.
“I think personally, I performed really well, especially during our final match,” Ammirati said. “Although I lost, I put everything I had into that match. The girl I played was an amazing player and I gave her a run for her money.”
Bruley said the fall season was satisfying, and the team is looking forward to the spring. During the offseason, the girls are expected to work out and get stronger in preparation for the upcoming matches.
“I noticed already that there are girls in the gym working out,” Bruley said. “It’s time for us to take our program to the next level and hopefully bring in some strong recruits, but all in all, we’re very satisfied, very happy with the way the fall went and looking forward to the spring.”
With her last season approaching, Tierney hopes to improve personally and bring her teammates along for the ride.
“Looking forward, I will just be working in the gym getting in shape for my next, and sadly last season,” she said. “It is my last chance, personally, to make an impact on the team and I will do anything I can to make a positive one.”