Tennis Motivated for Success

Photo by Holly Lipka.

The women’s tennis team dropped their past two matches after a 4-0 start, but they have demonstrated signs of a championship-caliber team this year.

After losing against SUNY Geneseo on Sept. 23, the Hawks scored their first points against the Knights since the 2014-15 season where they were shutout 9-0 by them during the regular season  and 5-0 in last year’s State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Tournament finals.

Geneseo matchup

Despite what Hawks head coach Rob Bruley describes as a “heartbreaking” 5-4 loss against Geneseo, the Hawks managed to bring four of the matches to a deciding third set. The Hawks won three of four of the close sets.

In singles action, Hawks fourth-year co-captain Olivia Ammirati won a close first flight match 7-5, 4-6, 6-2. Third-year Brittany Grandville also won a tight contest at flight two 6-1, 1-6, 6-2. Second-year Lindsay Haley recorded the Hawks’ other singles win at flight five 7-6, 0-6, 6-3.

“That was a heartbreaker,” Bruley said. “We’ve gone over it, looked at it, talked about it until we were blue in the face. That was one that got away from us. I think their coach said that we should not have lost to them, but we finally got a team that can match up against Geneseo.”

The Hawks dropped two of the three doubles matchups despite their recent success in doubles play. Bruley emphasized the importance of getting extra points to win close games.

“Our players are more motivated now than they were before the match,” Bruley said. “I think they were nervous going into the matchup, but now they got over that. They know what’s in front of them, and they know what’s required if we’re going to win it. You look at the scores and a point here and there can be the difference between winning and losing.”

ITA Tournament

Ammirati, Grandville, third-years Emi Lewis and co-captain Carol Tyson represented New Paltz in the ITA Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25.

In the first round of singles play, Ammirati fell to her opponent from St. Lawrence in three sets, Grandville fell to her foe from Hamilton 4-6, 2-6 and Tyson dropped a 4-6, 3-6 decision to her William Smith opponent.

Ammirati picked up an 8-2 consolation win against Scranton and Grandville won by walkover against SUNY Geneseo. Tyson dropped a 6-8 decision to her Scranton foe.

In doubles play, Ammirati and Lewis won 8-5 against Scranton in the first round. The duo made it to the second round against The College of New Jersey, but lost in a close 9-8 tiebreaker against New Jersey.

With their win, The College of New Jersey went on to win the tournament. The Hawks demonstrated themselves to be top-tier competition after being the only team to keep up to the pace of New Jersey.

“The draws were good and again you’re playing the best players in the Northeast,” Bruley said. “It’s always good to play in these because it helps build credibility for our program.”

What’s ahead

The Hawks will finish up the regular season at home against The College at Brockport on Saturday, Oct. 1  before the SUNYAC Tournament begins on Friday, Oct. 7 in Binghamton.

First-year Brockport star Sarah Mensah is a force to be reckoned with. The Berlin, Germany native proved her dominance at the ITA Tournament with a second-place finish and being the only unseeded athlete to reach the semifinals.

“We’re in a good place, I’m very happy with the way the team is performing,” Bruley said. “We’re going to give it everything we have again and hopefully bring home the trophy.”