Rock tennis looks to the future

Published by adviser, Author: Cody Nespor - Sports Edtor, Date: May 4, 2017

Laboring through an injury-plagued season, the Slippery Rock tennis team leaned on young players to finish the season with a 9-11 overall record and a 2-4 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) record.

“We asked a lot of our players this year, stepping up some places two to three spots,” head coach Matt Meredith said. “The teams that did well in our region wouldn’t have. We would’ve kick their butts if we were healthy.”

The team lost two of their three best players halfway through the season to injury and struggled without them. Juniors Nina Barbano and Carla Corrochano Moracho both only played part of the season and would have been big contributors if healthy.

Barbano compiled a 5-1 singles record and a 4-3 doubles record when healthy this year and Corrochano Moracho had a 12-7 singles and 9-6 doubles record before being shut down.

With those two out, the rest of the team was forced to play up two spots in the lineup. Leading the way for the Rock players was freshman Lacey Cohen. Cohen played in top flight singles and on the top doubles pair all season, finishing 13-13 in singles and 16-11 in doubles. Cohen was also named to the second team All-PSAC squad and was named the PSAC-West Freshman of the Year.

Meredith said that if Barbano and Corrochano Moracho were healthy, they would have pushed Cohen to be better than she was.

“(Cohen)’s playing the best that everyone’s got and so over our best are pretty darn good in this conference, especially in the west side,” Meredith said. “All the ones are good, the whole way down here.”

Cohen’s signature win on the season came against Indiana University (Pa.) when she and Corrochano Moracho defeated the no. 15 nationally ranked Crimson Hawk pairing.

Behind Cohen, sophomores Amanda Bruscemi and Allie Welch had to step up and play in higher spots than they had before.

Bruscemi finished the year 11-14 in singles and 12-13 in doubles. Welch finished 9-13 in singles and 9-10 in doubles. Welch played in the fourth singles spot for most of the year and said that it was a challenging transition.

“It was pretty difficult because I didn’t have any experience at four,” Welch said. “But it’s not much different, it’s just playing someone that’s more challenging. I think everyone played well in their new spots and it was a tough season and we learned from it.”

The team’s three seniors, Stephanie Fortier, Kylee Woodman and Tiffany Kollah all played their last year at SRU and Meredith will need to replace all three of them.

Meredith said that he was disappointed with the senior leadership on the team saying, “It don’t think it will be hard to replace the senior leadership we had this year, I’ll put it that way.”

Aside from the three seniors, both Barbano and Bruscemi will also not be returning to the team next fall.

Meredith said that he is extremely excited for next year. He said he is bringing in three freshmen and a transfer that he thinks will be able to immediately help the team and bring a passion for playing tennis that the team has not had in recent years.

“I’m extremely excited after this season to get going for next season,” Meredith said. “This year was a learning experience; we learned a lot and I am thrilled this one is over and we can move on to the next one.”


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