After undergoing a rebuilding year last season, the women’s tennis team has returned to the courts ready to show the other teams in their conference what they can do. The team is comprised of thirteen players, only one of whom is a senior.
“Last year was a rebuilding year for the program, which helped many players develop. This will lead to huge strides this season on the tennis court. The incoming freshmen will add much needed depth to the program,” Sophomore Samantha Silcox said.
Despite having many new faces on the squad, the team’s chemistry is something that all the women point to as being critical to their success this season. The women are enthusiastic about what this season holds.
“Last year we had a very close-knit team and I don’t see that changing this year. We have only been together for a few weeks and already have a great team dynamic. I’m really looking forward to what the spring season brings because I know this team is capable of accomplishing great things,” Senior Bailey Abeyesekera said.
The team has had to make several adjustments after losing some key players last season. By bringing in a talented freshmen class, the team is confident they have what it takes to accomplish their goals.
“This year has been a huge adjustment after losing two very strong players and leaders but we are growing into a very close-knit team. I believe we will do better in our conference than we have been doing for the past few years because we finally have the deep lineup we need to defeat the other top teams in the MIAC,” Junior Annie Mahoney said.
Last year the team hit their stride late in the season, and as a result, suffered some disappointing losses. These frustrating matches serve as inspiration for many of the returning players.
“We had a couple tough losses last year but we used those as fuel to push ourselves more which ended up bringing us closer together. Our returning players remember those matches and we still use them as motivation to get better,” Abeyesekera said.
The team’s goal is to win their conference, but admits that this is a tall order. Carleton, St. Kate’s, and St. Thomas are schools that pose the biggest threat to the Gustavus women.
“Carleton is always the team to beat. They have a bunch of really talented players. Also, St. Kate’s has grown a lot and become a top contender in our conference,” Mahoney said.
The team began their competitive season with a tournament in Rapid City, South Dakota last weekend. This weekend the women host the ITA Midwest Regional Championships.
The women have become a close-knit group, in part because they are a small team with many new faces. But for one player, this season will be an extra special one, because of the bond she shares with another player on the team.
“It’s weird being the only senior on the team but I’m going to make the most of the time that I have left. Being a part of this team is such a special experience and also being able to share that experience with my sister just makes it that much more special,” Abeyesekera said.