Over the past year, the sound of racquets and tennis balls clashing against one another was a feeling the Slippery Rock tennis team had missed.
Besides the work the team has been putting in on the court, they have also managed to stay healthy, with everyone on the team vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Really, it is a great thing,” added head coach of the tennis team Matt Meredith. It allows the team the opportunity to be out on the court most nights from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. getting repetitions in safely.
Meredith says that, “everyone is excited to be hitting balls again.” With tennis being a fall and spring sport, both seasons count toward the overall record. Fall seasons consist of individual tournaments and lead up to the two big ones: ITA Nationals and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championship.
This competition during the fall is great practice for the more serious spring season. “These crossover matches are a good experience to get the team tuning up, as there aren’t any team scores against some very good opponents,” said Meredith.
On average the team is typically quite small but isn’t lacking in talent. The fall season allows for new players to develop in preparation for the extensive spring season. “Typically, there’s about eight players on the roster, so I’m possibly looking for one more talented player on this campus,” said Meredith.
Over the past few weekends, the tennis team has played in tournaments and Coach Meredith says they’re competing well.
He specifically noted how freshman Teddi Isherwood is “playing absolutely outstanding and had a great weekend at the tournaments. Teddi is a key player to the team,” he added.
However, Mererdith said his entire team has been playing well, making it hard to pick out one player in specific. Gabriela Val Del Toro also raised attention at recent invites. “Gabby goes out there and fights for every play like it’s her last,” said Meredith.
He added how Nuria Martin Lopez, a Division I transfer, is also working hard on doubles. With the team being so small, talent is valued. The players are matched up for doubles and are expected to compete well together.
Following the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Atlantic Region Championships, every member of the six-women roster took home at least a single match win. On day two, the women were matched up to compete in doubles series. As pairs they all competed hard and fought for a spot in the finals.
Lois Page was one of the finalists in the weekend’s competition, adding to her multiple appearances in ITA finals during her college career. Page came up shy of a singles win in the ITA Championship at Millersville on Monday. Page was seeded the four spot and lived up to the expectations of Meredith, going 4-1 in her individual sets.
The team will play in their final singles tournament of the fall beginning Oct. 2 at Bloomsburg University. They hope to finish out the season with more progression and wins for the overall record.