The New Paltz women’s tennis team has embarked on a new season behind head coach Rob Bruley, who is beginning his 20th season minding the store.
With Bruley at the helm, the Hawks have made 15 consecutive State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) finals, while capturing the crown in four of them.
While Bruley believes the team has yet to peak, they are in a good spot.
“They have really taken the intensity level up in practice,” Bruley said. “The seniors have reminded the younger players that this isn’t high school anymore, but a serious Div. III program. Brittany [Grandville] and Carol [Tyson] have made sure every practice is important and that they get better everyday.”
With former co-captain Olivia Ammirati graduating after last season, the Hawks have added three first years, including Jenna Grandville, the younger sister of Brittany, as well as Courtney Koran of Hollis, New Hampshire.
“It’s very unique that we were able to pull from that far away,” Bruley said about Koran. “She is one of the top players from New Hampshire and is very coachable. Not just in singles, but doubles too.”
A big goal that New Paltz will look to topple this year is their lack of success in doubles.
“At doubles play, we haven’t been strong,” Bruley said. “Having to go into singles and take five of six is a tall order. Our middle order and anchor are going to be very crucial.”
The Hawks have taken part in non-scoring matches so far this season, but will gear up for bouts with SUNYAC rivals Cortland and Oneonta in Plattsburgh on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9, respectively. New Paltz will also host Plattsburgh at the North Tennis Courts for their home opener on Sept. 15 at 3:30 p.m.
“We are really pushing for the conference championship,” Bruley said. “These are very competitive matches as all three programs have improved. They will come after us and swing for the fences.”
The Hawks head coach concluded that the girls must stand firm and battle, but it will be good for them to get used to playing hard.