By Thomas Regan
New seasons bring new opportunities, but the men’s and women’s tennis squads were unable to capitalize on those opportunities as they began their seasons with losses to Fairfield on Sept. 11.
Both the men and the women were unable to win any matches and were swept 7-0.
The women’s team followed its season-opening sweep with a 5-2 loss to Manhattan (1-0, 1-0 MAAC). However, the loss was not all disappointment, as first singles junior Alison Noll defeated Manhattan’s Brianna Turano, taking the first set 6-3, and the second 6-1. Meanwhile, sixth singles junior Leonora Paul took her match 6-1, 6-2 over Barbara Hernandez.
Noll, who holds one of the few victories Rider has this season, credits her victory to consistent play.
“I am just trying to play real steady, and take the opportunities I’m given,” Noll said. “I am gaining a lot of experience and hope that it is going to help me in the long run.”
Senior captain Kim Leder played fifth singles despite an injury, according to Head Coach Ed Torres.
“She’s had a bad wrist and it’s continuing this year,” Torres said.
After losing six seniors, the men’s tennis team is mostly freshmen headed by four seniors, including co-captains Rollie Malfitano and Nick Lubold.
“We do have six freshmen,” Torres said. “Needless to say we have a very young team.”
Of the few veteran members they have, Torres relies on Malfitano.
“Malfitano has been the No. 1 player since he was a freshman,” Torres said.
Two freshmen started singles matches: Adam Levi at second singles and Ed Chogllo at fourth singles. Though Torres is confident in their abilities, he knows college competition is stiff.
“They were all good high school players, but it is a different league when you’re playing Division I,” Torres said.
Torres wants his players to develop and improve; he knows that it’s going to be a rebuilding season. Torres believes that it’s important for his players to try their hardest each and every match.
“Just be competitive — even if you lose the match you can still play well,” Torres said. “We don’t have any easy matches. We have to work hard for all of them.”
Both the men and women will continue their seasons Sept. 21 at Hofstra. Men’s tennis was defeated 7-0 in the last match-up against Hofstra in 2011, while the women also lost 6-0 in 2010.
He expects a major improvement after the conclusion of the fall season, which will certainly be an important one to the rebuilding process of the team.