Young talent shapes Rock tennis’ future

Published by adviser, Author: Doug Gilghrist - Rocket Contributor, Date: February 19, 2015
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The Slippery Rock University tennis team looks to continue its streak of eight straight playoff appearances as it begins the spring session of the 2014-15 season.

SRU is coming off of a 13-13 record last season, in which they lost to West Virginia State in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regionals. That was their first non-winning season since the 2004-05 campaign.

After going 0-1 in the fall, the Green and White opened up the spring portion of their schedule on Feb. 6 against Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), who was the seventh ranked team in NCAA Division III. 

The Rock fell to 0-2 on the season by dropping an 8-1 decision to CMU.

The lone win for SRU was in number one singles, as freshman Carla Corrochano Moracho won a three set thriller, winning 10-8 in the final set.

The Rock features one of the youngest teams in the region, with six freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors comprising the 11 member squad. 

The top three singles players are all freshmen, as well as the top doubles team.

Head coach Matt Meredith is in his 17th season coaching the SRU women. He has had only two losing seasons in the previous 16, compiling 255 wins along the way.

Despite the team’s youth, Meredith expects the team to be successful.

“Our goal, as always, is to make the PSAC playoffs and the NCAA tournament,” Meredith said. “We have talent and we are looking to gain some valuable experience. I think we will be successful. By starting freshmen in our top three singles, we are looking to build for the years to come.”

Among the returning players for the Rock, junior Courtney Gallagher has the most experience. 

She has a 16-15 career singles record, but it is in doubles that she excels. She has compiled a 34-17 record in doubles in her three seasons at SRU.

Gallagher believes that this year’s squad can have success.

“Despite the fact we have a young team, we have a strong team,” Gallagher said. “Our goal is to make it to PSACs and Regionals. We have a strong team and we are looking forward to this upcoming season.”

Gallagher also has some advice for the younger members of the team.

“My advice would be to just play every game like it’s your last and work as hard as you can,” Gallagher said. “The worst thing you can do after a match is regret that you didn’t work hard enough during it.”

Sophomore Kylee Woodman has also been impressive in doubles, going 18-9 last season, while compiling a 14-13 singles record.

Sophomore Stephanie Fortier also has a winning doubles record in her career with an 18-14 mark, while going 8-13 in singles. 

Meanwhile, sophomore Emily Munson has gone 3-4 in singles and 0-1 in doubles in limited action.

The Rock returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m against Grove City College in Wexford, Pennsylvania.

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