Although the Rider tennis season is just beginning, the men and women are optimistic about what’s to come.
Even with a positive attitude, the women’s team fell to St. Joesph’s Wednesday.
The Broncs dropped seven of 12 sets in the 6-1 loss to the Hawks, despite a straight set win from freshman Tricia Ashmore at third singles.
“Tricia has been our most consistent player,” Head Coach Ed Torres said to Rider Sport Information. “She keeps the ball in play and keeps the rally alive. She is patient and makes her opponent make a mistake. And when they do, she capitalizes on it with an open court shot. She is playing well.”
Both the men and women played Delaware State on Sept. 21. The women (1-3 overall) lost 7-0, but the men (1-1 overall) were victorious, beating the Hornets 4-3.
“The key to the men’s win was the doubles point,” Torres said to Rider Sports Information. “Usually we win two of three doubles and we won all three. The doubles play especially was excellent.”
Sophomore Chris Esposito won a three-set thriller 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 6-1 at number five singles and later joined sophomore Robert Olsen to win 9-7 at third doubles. Olsen won in straight sets at sixth singles 6-1, 6-2. Senior captain Casey Jedlinski won two sets to one at first singles and first doubles with partner sophomore Josh Rultenberg.
For the women, junior Kristina Paich won three games at No. 2 singles before falling in straight sets.
On Sept. 18 the women beat Monmouth 4-3. With the match tied at three, Paich secured the win for Rider at No. 1 singles.
“There was some pressure but I was able to handle it,” Paich said to Rider Sports Information. “I didn’t try to overdo anything and just played each point with patience.”
Also contributing to the team’s win was Ashmore in her second collegiate match, who won at third singles and second doubles with partner Danielle White.
Senior Danielle Morse won 6-3, 6-0 at second singles with freshman Allison Clay also winning 6-2, 6-2 at fifth singles.
Monmouth defeated the Broncs 6-1 last season with Paich picking up the only Bronc win in a three-set thriller.
Although the official record for the women’s team is 1-3, Torres considers their record to be 1-2 due to a decision made by the MAAC Conference after the Broncs lost to NJIT. The match was originally scheduled to be a scrimmage because NJIT only had four players.
“They won, so they challenged it saying it was a match,” Torres said. “The MAAC conference agreed with them, but I still don’t consider it a loss.”
He sees positive potential in his new team this year.
“I think that the men’s team should have a pretty successful season,” said Torres. “I have the whole team back, as well as some new guys.”
Although Torres thinks the team will have a victorious season, he feels as though it will be more of a rebuilding year.
“I have four freshman girls starting in the lineup,” Torres said. “It’s a very young team, but I expect very good things from them and they’re going to get better.”
Along with the four freshmen — Tricia Ashmore, Danielle White, Katie Garrity and Allison Clay — are two freshman recruits who haven’t played yet.
“I’m trying to get everyone in the lineup as much as I can,” Torres said. “I want them to get as much experience as possible.”
Morse feels like she has an extra responsibility as the captain of so many new teammates.
“I definitely feel like I have to guide the team a little bit, just because it’s such a young team,” Morse said. “The majority are freshmen, so I have to make sure they’re comfortable and know what they’re doing.”
Junior Alyssa Markovits feels that the team will improve as the season progresses.
“We needed a decent amount of new players after last season,” she said. “Although there are so many younger players, I think we will still be successful this season as well as seasons to come.”
Markovits feels that the younger players on the team are really stepping up this season.
“I think all of the freshmen are playing really well,” Markovits said. “They’re really adjusting well to playing at the college level.”
The goal that the women’s team has set for this season is to do well in all of their matches, especially against conference teams.
The next home match for the women will be Saturday, Sept. 27, against Manhattan. The next home match for the men will be Thursday, Oct. 9, against St. Peter’s.