The tennis team suffered its first loss of the fall season against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
On Saturday, Sept. 19, RPI swept through doubles play, holding a 3-0 lead heading into singles action. New Paltz earned wins from third-year Olivia Ammirati, second-year Carol Tyson and fourth-year co-Captain Laura Tierney at flights one, three and four of singles, respectively, but the Engineers wound up winning the match by capturing the other three flights.
The following day, the Hawks participated in the 2015 Vassar Tournament competing in both singles and doubles against host Vassar College, Connecticut College and New York University (NYU).
The Hawks had 11 team members in singles play, but were unable to tally a win. In second round doubles action, the duo of fourth-year co-Captain Allie Starke and first-year Lindsay Haley earned New Paltz its only victory of the day, defeating their opponents from Connecticut College, 8-3. In the third round, Starke and Haley dropped an 8-3 decision to NYU.
Hawks Head Coach Rob Bruley said he was pleased with the effort from the entire team during the Vassar Tournament.
“A lot of the girls were drained from the RPI match ,which lasted nearly four-and-a-half hours,” he said. “Going into two or three tough matches the following day, it just shows you that fitness is paying off.”
On Friday, Sept. 25, the Hawks were shutout by SUNY Geneseo 9-0.
The Knights swept all six flights in singles play.
The Hawks posted their best finish in program history as they competed in the 2015 United States Tennis Association (USTA)/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Tournament from Saturday, Sept. 26 to Monday, Sept. 28, in Geneva, New York, hosted by William Smith College. Four Hawks qualified, but none were seeded in the Tournament.
In the singles competition, Ammirati advanced to the Round of 16 (third round) after defeating second-year Julia Frattaroli from the University of Scranton, 7-5, 6-2, in round one and taking down fourth-year Christina Ho from the University of Rochester, 1-6, 6-4, 10-1 in the second round. Fourth-year Carmen Lai of New York University eventually defeated Ammirati in the Round of 16, 6-3, 6-3. Ammirati became the first Hawk to advance to the Round of 16 during the Tournament in program history.
Ammirati said making it to the Round of 16 was an amazing accomplishment and the fact that four Hawks qualified for the Tournament was even bigger.
“Even that is an accomplishment,” she said. “It shows the other schools that New Paltz is just as good as any of these big private schools.”
Tierney tallied a victory in her first round, defeating second-year Michaelann Denton of William Smith College, 6-4, 7-5 before falling to second-year Erica Meno of Skidmore College, 6-3, 6-7, 10-7.
Hawks second-year Brittany Grandville won her first round match, 6-3, 6-4 against first-year Maria Salmon of RPI but dropped her second round match, 6-1, 6-4 to first-year Mako Tanaka of SUNY Geneseo.
In doubles action, Grandville and Tyson fell 8-1 to St. Lawrence College’s fourth-year Morgan McNeal and second-year Emily Wyman before falling to The College of New Jersey’s fourth-year co-Captain Emma Allen and first-year Alyssa Baldi, 8-1, in consolation doubles. The combination of Ammirati and Tierney fell 8-1 to second-year Melanie Frank and fourth-year Emily Laurlliard of RPI.
Tierney said the experience of participating in the ITA Tournament was “unreal” as a first-time qualifier.
“I had no idea what to expect,” she said. “It was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had as a player, but also was one of the hardest. After [my] loss, I felt the most disappointed I have ever felt. It meant something to have other colleges, who did not even know me, cheer me on, hoping I would win. It was probably the first time I had been as emotional as I was on the court, not only physically, but mentally as well. Overall though, I am so proud of each and every one of my teammates who played. They all represented SUNY New Paltz tennis in the greatest way possible. We are fighters, and never let anyone think they are better than us.”
Bruley said the team likes to be challenged.
“This is where we want this program to be, playing among the very best,” Bruley said. “I was really pleased with the way everything has gone over the last 10 days. We have taken some losses but they are good losses. In tennis, you do not want to be completely rolling over teams. The NCAA does not look favorably upon that. They would look favorably at a strong loss than an easy win. That is the only way we are going to get better.”
To prepare, Ammirati said the team will be practicing hard and working on doubles play.
With a 4-2 overall record, the Hawks return home to face Mount Saint Mary College in a nonconference matchup on Friday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. at the North Tennis Courts.