Injuries hamper Rock tennis during spring break trip

Published by adviser, Author: Cody Nespor - Sports Editor, Date: March 21, 2017
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Traveling south over spring break to escape the cold Pennsylvanian weather, the Slippery Rock tennis team played five team matches in South Carolina from March 11-16.

The Rock played matches against Erskine College, East Stroudsburg, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Kutztown and George Mason. The Green and White won over fellow Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) schools East Stroudsburg and Kutztown and fell to Erskrine, SCAD and George Mason.

The biggest loss for Rock tennis, however, came before any matches were even played. Junior Nina Barbano suffered a season-ending injury and will miss the remainder of the 2017 spring season. Barbano, who had been playing number three singles so far this year, could prove to be a big loss for the team. Since her freshman season in 2013-14, Barbano has more singles wins (37) than any other Slippery Rock tennis player in that time.

Also, missing time over spring break were junior Carla Corrochano Moracho, who suffered a minor injury, and senior Tiffany Kollah, who had to leave the team for an internship after only two matches.

The Rock lost to Erskine 5-4 on March 11 before turning around and beating East Stroudsburg 9-0 the next day. On March 15, SRU lost to SCAD 9-0 in game one of a doubleheader and defeated Kutztown 9-0 later that day. The team finished off the trip losing 1-8 to George Mason on Thursday.

Rock head coach Matt Meredith said that even though they only won two games, he thought the team learned how to persevere through injuries while still playing well.

“Having (Nina) out is a big loss for us, but we’ll step up as a team and do the best we can,” Meredith said. “That’s what happened down in South Carolina, kids stepped up. We do have good depth so what we’re learning to do is come through injuries and perform as a team.”

Highlighting the trip for The Rock in singles play were freshman Lacey Cohen and sophomore Amanda Bruscemi. Cohen went 2-3 playing first flight singles and Bruscemi went 3-2 playing mostly in the third flight.

Senior team captain Stephanie Fortier, senior Kylee Woodman and sophomore Allie Welch all went 2-2 in singles play. Freshman Zoe McCafferty went 2-0 playing in the sixth flight.

“I think Lacey Cohen, as a freshman, playing the one spot is doing a good job. It’s a learning experience this year for her, playing at this level in the top spot,” Meredith said. “That was good for Zoe to get some experience. We’re going to need her maybe down the run here and definitely next year. Zoe’s a very good athlete, one of the best athletes on the team.”

Highlighting double play for the Green and White was the pairing of the seniors Fortier and Woodman. The pairing went 3-2 over the week and was the only pairing to play in all five matches.

“(Fortier and Woodman) are my seniors,” Meredith said. “They get it. They know how to play doubles. Whenever I put them into the lineup they’re always going to be competitive, they’re always going to be in the match and they understand how I want them to play.”

Other successful pairings were Cohen and Bruscemi (2-1), Kollah and Welch (1-0) and Welch and McCafferty.

Following the trip, Rock tennis will now move into conference play, where the loss of Barbano and the inexperience of some of the younger athletes could really start to cause problems for Meredith and his team if they hope to make some noise in a tough PSAC-West division.

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