Junior tennis star Lacey Cohen seems to love dominating her opponents in September.
For the second consecutive September, Cohen has been named Athlete of the Month. Cohen, a public health major, made history by becoming the first Rock woman to win the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) singles championship.
“That win was huge for the program. It’s our first one and we have had a lot of good members of this team that were right there and anytime you win a championship, that’s awesome. She’s a juggernaut for us, she comes forward and gets the job done,” Head coach Matt Meredith said.
Starting the season slowly from her usual standards with a first-round exit in the ITA Atlantic Regional Championship and by dropping two of her first three singles matches, Cohen jumpstarted her season at the PSAC championships.
A pair of straight-set victories in the first and second round of the PSAC championships helped Cohen match her sophomore season accomplishment of advancing to the quarterfinals but the talented junior had her sights set much higher this time around.
Following up a default win in the quarterfinals with matching 6-4, 6-3 triumphs in the semifinal and championship, Cohen joined former Rock tennis stars, Jessica Bungo and Ashley Michaux, as the only athletes with PSAC championships.
The historic 4-0 run – a fifth being notched without being played – through the highly competitive PSAC renewed the junior star’s confidence and showcased just what Cohen is capable of when on a stretch of good form.
“I think that with our team, they have pushed me really hard and our coach pushes me, and I have just gotten to the point where I feel really confident and I am playing really well. Just a lot of people have helped me get to where I am,” Cohen said.
In conference dual meets with Kutztown University and Millersville University, Cohen dropped only four points in four matches in route to a 2-0 record in both singles and doubles matches.
Since taking over the no. 1 slot for The Rock in her freshman season, Cohen has been tasked with matching up against the best the opposition has to offer every time. Through the trials and tribulations, the talented junior has taken something away from every result – win or loss – and works to grow as a tennis player.
With an 8-4 record in singles play and a 4-2 record in doubles play – mainly pairing with sophomore Olivia Warner – Cohen has already worked her way to 72 career victories at The Rock.
Only a junior, Cohen has collected numerous accolades in her quest for 100 career wins. Along with being a PSAC Scholar athlete in her freshman and sophomore year, the junior star was named the PSAC West Freshman of the Year in 2016-2017 and has been a three-time All-PSAC West honoree.
Now that Cohen has two Athlete of the Month honors, the talented junior acknowledges how her teammates have helped shape her into the athlete she is today.
“It is just really rewarding and exciting because all of us on the team have just put in a lot of time,” Cohen said. “And it is exciting to have it pay off.”
For the third consecutive season with Cohen in the no. 1 slot, The Rock has finished the fall portion of the schedule with a 3-0 record. A non-conference tilt with Daemen College saw only a single match dropped in a 6-1 victory while two PSAC contests saw two shutout, 6-0 and 7-0, over Kutztown and Millersville. The strong finish has Cohen and the squad excited for a strong start to the spring season.
“I expect that we come out as strong as we have ended our fall season and just keep doing what we are doing right now,” Cohen said. “We’re playing really well, and we have good attitudes.”
To most, winning the conference championship would signal a peak in athletic performance. To Meredith, it feels like only the beginning for his star athlete. “There is another gear you have not seen yet,” Meredith said. “I’m hoping that it all comes out.”
When Rock tennis resumes in the spring, Lacey Cohen will be ready to show the PSAC just the kind of tennis player she truly is.