The Slippery Rock women’s tennis team are looking to continue their recent fine form as they progress further into the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) tournament.
Following on from their last win against Mercyhurst University, a 4-3 victory and the second time the Rock have defeated the lakers this season, the team will now face rivals Millersville in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, eventually looking to cement their place in the PSAC tournament final.
Yet, the regular season, which totaled fourteen wins including five in conference was nothing more than head coach Matt Meredith expected. “It comes down to the top three teams- us, IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) and Mercyhurst every year. But Edinboro and Seton Hill have gotten stronger too. We did what we wanted to do, in conference for sure”.
The 7-0 win over California University of Pennsylvania marked senior day for Lois Page, a standout performer for the Rock over the past four years. However, Meredith concedes that Page’s goodbye was a difficult pill to swallow. “It was very emotional. I hate those days. I’m saying goodbye to students I’ve had here and recruited here for four years”, Meredith commented. “It’s great her for though”, he continued. “She’s accomplished so many things here”.
Page, a psychology major who swapped North Yorkshire for the Keystone state four years ago, will leave behind a legacy that includes ranking seventh in all time wins in program history with one hundred and twenty-one to date. Meredith believes that Page’s leadership has been pivotal to the success for both her and that of the team. “She’s done well dealing with the mental part of the game for us- she was a big part of that. She’s been a great leader for us, but she’s also learned from the great leaders we’ve had here in the past too”.
Despite his high praise for his captain, Meredith also gives away his attachment to his all of his players in general. “I know how hard they have worked. I only get them for four years, but I would take them forever”.
Meredith was busy over the summer of 2021, recruiting two new freshmen to add to his already versatile roster. Georgie Lancaster has quickly put her name around in doubles play, often linking up with junior Zoe Heed, another fresh face to the line-up having transferred from Coker University in January 2022. Thus far, they have formed a formidable partnership on the court, with a combined total of six wins in PSAC play.
Teddi Isherwood has wasted no time stamping her authority over the PSAC, having already recorded a staggering twenty wins in singles play this season including five in conference play. Coach Matt Meredith was quick to praise the freshman from Wexford, Pennsylvania. “She has an unbelievable record. She’s dominated and is one of the best freshmen out there”, Meredith said.
Yet, Meredith believes both of his new recruits have the potential to become important athletes to the program as they gain more experience. “For the freshman, it can be a lot of pressure but it’s a great learning experience for them. You have to be able to believe in your own ability and move forward”.
The women’s tennis team has made headlines countless times over the current spring semester, with numerous records being broken and players winning a number of personal accolades. Credit must be given to head coach Matt Meredith, who has carefully assembled a team able to flourish in high pressure situations. Individual talent combined with a steely attitude has seen the team go from strength to strength under his stewardship, with Meredith now in his twenty- fourth year as head coach of the women’s tennis team at Slippery Rock University.
Yet, the Rock will be well aware of the challenges that lay ahead in their path towards the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) national tournament if they are to progress on Friday. Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) are the favorites for their clash with West Chester University, ranking first in the Atlantic region. Having already beaten SRU 6-1 earlier in the season, the Rock will need to find a way to nullify their threat in order to avoid succumbing to another defeat if they are to meet in the next stage of the PSAC tournament.
At the time of writing, the Rock are set to face off with Millersville University in a crucial match up, hoping to advance to the PSAC final. The Rock will be hoping for a repeat of their 7-0 demolition against the Marauders, who are ranked seventh in the Atlantic region rankings. The semi-final is set to take place at 2pm at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with the winner set to face off with the victor of the other semi-final between Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and West Chester University.