The women’s tennis team split a pair of matches against State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) West Division opponents over the weekend.
The Hawks lost to archrival SUNY Geneseo 7-2 on Friday, Sept. 29 before sweeping The College at Brockport 9-0 the following day.
New Paltz has not beaten Geneseo since 2012 and have lost to the Knights in the SUNYAC finals every year since 2011. The two teams may very well see each other there again this season.
First-year Courtney Koran captured the Hawks’ lone point in singles at flight four, while the duo of fourth-year co-captain Carol Tyson and third-year Lindsay Haley won their matchup at flight three.
In light of their performances against Geneseo and Brockport, Koran was named SUNYAC Singles Athlete of the Week, while Tyson and Haley earned Doubles Team of the Week.
Fourth-year co-captain Brittany Grandville explained that despite the loss, getting a first-hand scouting report on the Knights can be beneficial to the team come playoff time.
“After playing Geneseo last weekend, we now have a better sense of their approach to doubles and their game strategy which will help us if we come up against them in SUNYACs,” she said.
The Hawks will next face SUNY Oneonta on Friday, Oct. 6 in a crucial SUNYAC East Division match. Both teams are 2-0 in conference play and the winner will enter the SUNYAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the East. The Red Dragons enter the game with a perfect 8-0 record, including a 5-4 victory over Geneseo earlier this season.
“We have a big game this weekend,” Hawks head coach Rob Bruley said. “This is one of the biggest games we’ve played, including the finals, over the last 10 years. If we lose to Oneonta, that would send us across to Geneseo’s bracket. There’s a lot of pressure on the program this week and we’ll see how we handle it.”
Bruley further explained that the team has been working hard on their doubles play and how much of a difference it could make for the rest of the season.
“If we can improve on our doubles play, we do stand a chance,” he said. “When you don’t win a doubles point and you have to win five of your six singles matches, it puts a lot of pressure on each individual match. We’ve increased the intensity of our practices and will continue to do so.”
Grandville echoed her coach’s thoughts on the Oneonta match and how improving doubles play is key to the team’s success.
“The match against Oneonta will no doubt be the most important of the season,” she said. “We have not only been working our doubles game intensely at practice, but we are mentally trying to clear our heads for this match. Though we have not recently lost to Oneonta in past years, they definitely will show up with a major confidence boost, so we need to be ready to deal with that. The mindset for Friday will be to remain calm, cool and collected.”
New Paltz has not lost to Oneonta since the 2002 season and the Hawks have swept the Red Dragons in their past three matchups.