For the second time in as many matches, the Springfield College women’s tennis team was involved in a 9-0 sweep. Fortunately, with the help of five seniors, the Pride were on the winning end Thursday, defeating cross-town rival Western New England (WNE) at home.
The senior-led Pride (2-1) dominated WNE (2-5) from start to finish, starting with the doubles competition. With at least one senior playing in each doubles match, it was obvious how the leadership they displayed on the court carried them. The seniors have received high praise from head coach James Coffin for their work on and off the court this season.
“Our seniors demonstrate leadership in a variety of ways,” said Coffin. “Their experience as collegiate student athletes has been invaluable, they are role models for the younger players both on the court and off the court.
“On the court they work hard to ensure that everyone is doing their part to make this program successful. In the classroom, they have great grades and puts positive pressure on the rest of the team to do the same. As a coach I could not be more proud of this group of seniors.”
The closest doubles match was played between Springfield’s team of senior Vanessa Senecal and junior Sydney Streimer, and WNE’s senior Alysha Lesieur and junior Kelsey Grode. Springfield was pushed to an 8-6 duel, where they took the final two points to claim the match win. At No.1 doubles, senior Sam Carney and junior Jen Cleary made quick work of the WNE opponents, winning their match 8-1. Finally at doubles third doubles, the senior duo of Erin Woodbury and Amy Buttarazzi completed the only sweep in the doubles matches, winning 8-0.
At singles, Carney proved she was worthy of being No.1 as she failed to lose a game, winning both sets by a score of 6-0. However, perhaps even more impressive was Woodbury playing at third singles. She faced a fellow senior from WNE in Lesieur, and was first off the court after winning both sets 6-0. The final senior on the roster for Springfield — Siana Green jumped to second singles Thursday, after playing at No.3 in the previous two matches. Green continued the Springfield dominance winning her sets, 6-3, and 6-4.
With all the seniors on the court for Springfield, it’s easy for many to overlook the play of freshman Melanie Thulin and Ariana Shemms. After playing in her first collegiate match last Saturday, Thulin made it look easy on the tennis court winning both sets by a score of 6-1, and 6-0.
“Both our first year players Melanie Thulin and Ariana Shemms have adjusted well to the college game, and although there is always much to learn about the game, they both have handled it with determination and effort,” said Coffin. “They are extremely coach-able and willing to learn. These are the type of student athletes that fit well into our program, and the type of people that I enjoy recruiting. I look forward to watching them progress in the coming years.”
Rounding out the play in singles for Springfield was Streimer at No.4, and Senecal at No.6. Senecal, playing in her first singles match of the season showed that she deserves her spot in the top six earning her match victory with a pair of 6-0 set sweeps. Streimer held her end of the bargain defeating her opponent 6-2, and 6-3.
The victory Thursday was a nice bounce back win for the Springfield women’s tennis team, who were swept 9-0 last Saturday by MIT.
The Pride will look to carry the momentum from this win into Saturday’s match in Norton, Mass. against Wheaton. The match is set for 1p.m as the Pride look for their first NEWMAC win of the season.