Men's Sports Sports Women's Sports

Athletes of the Week for 9/29/11 through 10/5/11

Ricky Mazella 

Staff Writer

A pair of standout men’s and women’s tennis players have earned the Springfield Student Newspaper Players of the Week award for 9/29/11 through 10/5/11.

Athletes of the Week for 9/29/11–10/5/11

Sam Carney

Women’s tennis earned its first pair of victories this past week over Clark and Suffolk.  Sam Carney, along with Jen Cleary led the way to the two lopsided wins.  Both teamed up for doubles, earning 8-0, 8-2 wins against Clark and Suffolk.  These wins are the first for first-year coach Toby Coffin.  Between the two wins were the ITA Regional Championships held in Lewiston, Maine.  Carney advanced to the second round of the seven match tournament before being knocked out.

Q: How encouraging is it to know you earned your first team win for Coach Coffin?

A: Our team has worked hard all season and it was a well deserved win against Suffolk. I am extremely proud of the effort our team has put forth this season.

Q: Jen Cleary was your doubles teammate. How did the both of you keep poised to play both a singles and doubles match?

A:We both go into warm-up with a doubles mind-set. Only after my doubles match do I focus on singles. I clear my head and take a breath, but its always been easier for me to play singles anyways. It’s just about refocusing.

Q: What was it like to play in the regional championships?

A. It’s always an amazing experience. The best ladies in the eastern region come together for a weekend of good match play. Being my second year going, I feel honored to be a part of such quality tennis and even more excited to pull-out a first round win.

Q: Is the urgency of winning upcoming matches going to give the team problems?

A: In order to make it into playoffs we need to beat 3 opponents: Clark, Mt Holyoke, and Smith. We have the capability to beat these 3 teams– in the end it’s about heart. Whichever team battles the hardest will come out on top.

Ben Burnap

Men’s tennis mimicked the women’s team by winning its first two victories for coach Coffin. These wins were also won by a landslide (9-0, 8-1). Ben Burnap earned his second doubles win in the process, as well as going 6-0, 6-0 in his singles match after a 6-1, 6-1 singles score on Sunday.  His two doubles wins were both with Kyle Mersereau. Burnap, the team’s No. 1 single’s player, has picked up his level of play since the beginning of the season. The Westerly, R.I. native has won back-to-back matches against Utica and Western New England.

Q: How encouraging is it to know you earned your first team win for Coach Coffin?

A. It was very encouraging to get a win for Coach Coffin because although he is primarily with the girls team in the fall, we can tell he is very dedicated to this program, and getting the first win is a big deal.

Q: Did Sunday’s win carry over to Monday’s match?

A. The win on Sunday helped build some momentum, which did drive the team away from being tired for the match on Monday.

Q: Now that there is a bit of momentum your way, will it be hard to wait to play on Friday?

A. It won’t be hard because we can enjoy a good week of practice, but we are definitely looking forward to it.

Q: Which of the four Grand Slam events would you perform the best in?

A. Of the four grand slams I’d say the US Open would be the one I would perform best in.

Ricky Mazella may be reached at

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