By Tom Albano
While the weather may speak to the contrary, spring is arriving and the tennis teams are preparing for the start of the season on March 10 against St. Francis (Pa.).
The men (2-8, 0-4 MAAC) and women (1-10, 0-6 MAAC) are coming off of a disappointing start in the fall.
“The teams’ performances in the fall could have been better,” Head Coach Ed Torres said. “We have to learn to win the close matches. This is done by hard work and experience.”
Junior Kim Leder spoke of how far her team has come and the challenges they’ve faced.
“From last fall, our team has taken away the fact that we’re a strong team that doesn’t give up easily,” Leder said. “We fight in our matches until the match is over. We play a lot of high-end schools whose teams are comprised of women who have been playing longer than we have and from upperclass tennis associations. It’s a challenge that we accepted when we came to be a part of Rider’s tennis team.”
Leder also said the teams have been dealing with some injuries.
“Unfortunately, our team has had quite a few injuries that have affected the way we play and our lineup,” Leder said. “We need to focus on building our strength back up and being healthy for this season and others to come.”
Despite the records, the morale of the teams remains high. The Broncs are concentrating on never giving up and playing strong until the final point.
“I have studied that confidence is key in all of our matches,” senior Jaclyn Giameo said. “We play a lot of schools that are better than us, but with confidence, we will be fine.”
Torres is also focused on making sure that the team stays hopeful.
“I am trying to instill a positive attitude going into the spring season,” Torres said. “You must believe in yourself and your teammates and help each other improve. I always tell the players to play their best, maintain good sportsmanship and enjoy themselves. They seem to take my advice.”
The teams have been working on various areas of play during practices such as their “constancy and on cooperating together for doubles,” according to senior Mike Gershon.
“The team works on improving our serves and our service percentage and how to make better use of the abilities we have to put our opponents under more pressure,” Gershon said.
Heading into the spring season, the Broncs look to grow off of past losses and focus on improving their game through training and hard work, starting with this Sunday’s match with St. Francis (Pa.).
“Being good at tennis comes from the amount of work you put into your practice, mostly on your own time away from the team,” sophomore Stephen Brand said. “So any freshman, for example, could beat any senior, if he has worked harder and developed his game more.”