The tennis team bounced back after ending their first match of the spring season with a loss.
The Lady Hawks were defeated by St. Lawrence University 6-3 on March 8. During this bout, the Lady Hawks were defeated in all but two of their singles competition matches and one doubles competition.
Despite this speed bump, the team answered back the next day with a 9-0 victory versus fellow SUNYAC East Division opponent, SUNY Plattsburgh.
Head Coach Rob Bruley is proud of the team, but said improvements can be made to their doubles game. Bruley said the first-year and transfer students do not have sufficient experience playing doubles, which is an important part of the collegiate game.
“I was really, really pleased with the start of the spring season,” Bruley said. “We’re always looking to improve every single practice, every single match day — we’re always looking to get better, to get stronger.”
Bruley said the northeast is the “powerhouse” of Div. III Women’s Tennis and the athletics at New Paltz have vastly improved over the years. He attributes the improvement in the programs to the experienced full-time coaching staff and recruiting of good athletes. In addition, Bruley believes the “secret” to winning in all of the school’s sports programs lies within the facilities here.
“The facilities are a big deal,” Bruley said. “When I came here, this place was a laughing stock. Now, look at the facilities we’ve got here — beautiful. These facilities here blow the lot of Div. I schools out of the water.”
Fourth-year Captain Kayla DiPaulo said she is pleased with the team’s performance and wants to make her final season with the team special, but emphasizes the importance of it being a group effort.
“There’s a top and a bottom player, but no one is really at the bottom, per se,” DiPaulo said. “Everyone is pretty equal and puts in a lot of effort, so I’m really happy about the team – my last experience before I graduate.”
With a team of only nine players, DiPaulo said it will be difficult to replace the three departing seniors DiPaulo, Alli Esposito and Montana Wilson. However, DiPaulo is sure the team will continue to grow as this season draws to a close and the next begins.
“The freshmen class this year is definitely really strong and they have so much room for improvement,” DiPaulo said. “They’re going to be so strong by the time they’re even juniors.”
Bruley said the three fourth-years have strengthened the program and taken it further than the fourth-years before them. He is also confident in the team’s future and continued success, in spite of losing key players to graduation.
“The three seniors have been absolutely outstanding,” Bruley said. “Basically, for the last four years, the whole program was based around these three. For 11 years straight, we’ve made the SUNYAC finals. That’s one thing that all three of them can walk away with their heads held high for — they’ve left the program in better shape than it was when they first joined, and that’s always my hope. If the rest of the seniors keep doing that, we are going to be in good shape.”