Tennis Serves up Early Season Success

Photo by Holly Lipka.

The women’s tennis team is off to a 3-0 start after kicking off the season with a win at home against Rutgers University and two conference wins.

The Hawks have won 17 out of 18 singles matchups so far this season, while staying undefeated in doubles play.

Hawks head coach Rob Bruley says this year’s team is competitive and the amount of competition has contributed to the team’s overall success.

“This year we’re a close, tight-knit team,” he said. “They’re experienced student athletes, our top-end is extremely tight and there’s a lot of team unity this year. We also have a lot of new players and as much as six people going for one spot, so there’s tremendous competition in the program so far this year.”

This year’s team brings in five first-year players and only has two fourth-year players graduating after this season.

All of the first years have already started off well, as they have only lost one singles match in the three matchups so far. The Hawks experienced their only singles loss against SUNY Cortland, but still beat the Red Dragons 8-1 on Sept. 9.

The following day, the Hawks shut out SUNY Oneonta 9-0 after losing to them last year in a close 23.5-21.5 overall game. This year’s annual Catskill Cup contest featured a close matchup between Hawks third-year Brittany Grandville and Oneonta’s first-year Jackie Guidice.

Grandville defeated Guidice 7-6 and 7-5 in two sets, which kept her undefeated on the season. The Hawks sit atop the SUNYAC East Division standings at 3-0 while they are 2-0 in conference play.

Although the Hawks went 3-0 in conference play last year, Bruley kept his players mentally prepared heading into the first conference matchups.

“I was telling the team that ‘the girls on the other side are as nervous as you are’,” he said. “We played extraordinarily well since there was a lot riding for our group and a lot of teams are coming out for us.”

New Paltz will play their final SUNYAC matchup against SUNY Plattsburgh on Friday, Sept. 16 and will face Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday, Sept. 17 before heading to Vassar College for the Vassar Tournament on Sunday, Sept. 18. The Hawks will return home as they face SUNY Geneseo on Friday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. on the North Tennis Courts.

Bruley believes the team will be prepared heading into the busy weekend.

“We prep the players before preseason by telling them what’s going to happen and how quickly things happen, so they get used to it,” Bruley said. “Most of these athletes come from competitive programs, so they’re used to this kind of environment.”