After a return to the SUNYAC Tournament finals, the SUNY New Paltz Tennis team concluded their fall 2012 season with a loss to SUNYAC rival Geneseo.
The Hawks began the tournament with a 5-0 defeat of SUNY Oswego on Friday, Oct. 5, advancing them to the semifinals where they faced SUNY Oneonta on Oct. 6. The Hawks defeated Oneonta with a final score of 5-1.
On Sunday, the Hawks faced Geneseo and fell to the Blue Knights 5-0. Despite the loss, Head Coach Robert Bruley said the team that went into the tournament on Oct. 5 was one of the most conditioned he’s had in his tenure as coach.
“Overall I think we were as prepared a team as I’ve ever had,” Bruley said. “I thought their preparation throughout the semester was amazing and their commitment to the program was better than 100 percent. They went beyond that percent, and we all did whatever we could to prepare for the weekend.”
Earlier in the season, the team had defeated Geneseo in conference play, marking the first time in six years that Geneseo had been beaten by a conference opponent. Fourth-year Captain Kayla DiPaulo said that since New Paltz had handed Geneseo that defeat, the Blue Knights came into the tournament ready to play the Hawks.
“I think their coach definitely wanted to beat us in SUNYACs,” DiPaulo said. “He, being the coach that he is, probably prepped his players individually and said ‘here is your opponent, here are her strengths, here are her weaknesses.’ They definitely put the bullseye on our backs.”
Bruley also said Geneseo had their eyes on the Hawks, and after going down 3-0 once doubles were done, coming back in singles is a difficult challenge.
“Geneseo really came after us,” Bruley said. “We were down after the doubles and it’s tough to come back when it’s first to five wins. We played very well in the final, but they were just a little bit stronger. We were always chasing the game, so we have to be pretty aggressive. They’re devastated, it unfortunately didn’t work out the way we wanted it to.”
The Lady Hawks now finish the fall season with an 8-2 record and an undefeated SUNYAC regular season record. Despite a finals loss, Bruley said it’s important for the team to realize the strides they made and what was accomplished this season.
“I think you’ve got to remember we had a remarkable season,” Bruley said. “This is one of the best teams I’ve had in my 16 years here. I told them don’t let the loss of the conference tarnish the success of a great season.”
With the conclusion of the fall season, the Hawks will train during the winter offseason to prepare for their spring 2013 season. DiPaulo said the loss at SUNYACs will serve as motivation for the team when they go against more challenging opponents in the spring.
“We know we could have won,” DiPaulo said. “We know the potential was there and that keeps the motivation coming. We know what we did in the fall and want to make it that much better in the spring. Our camaraderie this season is so strong, which is what makes this team the strongest team during my time here.”