After 119 days without a contest against another team, the Slippery Rock university women’s tennis team returned to action on February 3rd against Carnegie Melon, a match they lost, 1-8.
“It’s always better to play [versus another team]. That’s why we do this, we want to play,” Head coach Matt Meredith said. “Practice is fun, I hope, but competing is what we strive for.”
Meredith is in the midst of his 20th season at the helm of the Rock tennis program. With 290 career wins, Meredith could reach his 300th win at some point this spring.
His 20th year as head coach started last fall, where The Rock competed in four team contests, amassing a 3-1 record, and also competed at the Atlantic Regionals and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) individual championships.
“[The fall] helps us get our players and new players used to being in our system and developing in how I want them to play, and getting used to each other,” Meredith said.
“Hopefully our freshmen are no longer freshmen. If we can get over some of our initial fears and get ready for competition.”
Coming into the year, Rock players were well represented in the ITA preseason rankings. Sophomore Lacey Cohen led the way, just missing the top ten, being ranked 11th for singles competitors.
Senior Carla Corrochano Moracho wasn’t far behind at 13th, and sophomore Viola Lugmayr rounded out the individual athletes at 19th.
“I don’t put a lot of stock in rankings, per se. It’s nice to be recognized, I think our players work hard and they earned those rankings,” Meredith said. “It lets us know where we’re at and what we can strive towards. That’s how we use the rankings.”
SRU also had two doubles teams ranked in the poll. The combo of Cohen and Corrochano Moracho ranked seventh, while Lugmayr paired with freshman Olivia Warner were ranked ninth. The team was ranked fifth in the region as a whole, and that ranking can be at least partly attributed to overall depth, Meredith said.
“What’s nice this year is we got a lot of depth, so everyone is pushing everyone. [Lacey and Carla] are getting pushed by people they maybe weren’t last year. That makes us a stronger team.”
Besides Corrochano Moracho and Cohen, Meredith said that a lot of other players are expected to have a great spring.
“[Viola] has unbelievable hands and plays really good doubles, she’s gonna get stronger and stronger for us,” Meredith said. “All of our four people who have come in this year are all going to do well. We’re going to see some nice things from them.”
SRU will continue competition with two matches back-to-back on February 9th and 10th, against Davis and Elkins and St. Bonaventure, respectively.
“I’m looking forward to playing a DI on Saturday who I think we’re going to be very competitive with and maybe surprise [some people] a little bit there,” Meredith said about St. Bonaventure.
All of Meredith’s excitement was echoed by Lugmayr.
“We played our first match last weekend, and it got me really excited for the upcoming matches.”