Samantha Svantner (front) and Nicole Svantner (back) prepare for a serve in doubles play against Geneseo at the Binghamton Tennis Center Oct. 6.
(Left to right) Sarah Benowitz, Hallie Hurwitz and Kelci Henn discuss the results of doubles play at the Binghamton Tennis Center Oct. 6.
By Michael Purtell
The Plattsburgh State Cardinals (8-6, SUNYAC 2-5) wrapped up its SUNYAC season and were eliminated from postseason contention during a three-game trip to the Binghamton Tennis Center. The matches took place from Oct. 5 to Oct. 7, and the Cardinals finished 1-2 over the conference stretch.
The Cardinals entered the tournament on a high note with a 7-2 win over the Brockport Golden Eagles (2-8, SUNYAC 1-6) Thursday. The following day, Plattsburgh faced off with the Geneseo Knights (7-3, SUNYAC 5-2) and lost 8-1. The Cardinals then played Fredonia (1-7, SUNYAC 1-6) in a close match, losing 4-5 to close the tournament Saturday.
The conclusion of the Binghamton matches marks the end of the SUNYAC season for the Cardinals. Four seniors draw a close on their collegiate tennis careers: Jacqueline Svantner, Nicole Svantner, Samantha Svantner and Sarah Benowitz.
These seniors played through all three of Head Women’s Tennis Coach Kelci Henn’s seasons as head coach, and she had nothing but praise for their influence on the team.
“I can absolutely say that all four of the seniors have made this team what it is. Every success that our team has seen is because of those four seniors and the effort that they put in day in and day out,” Henn said. “Their leadership on and off the court for sure has really made the impact on the team. I mean, our team like I said before, we wouldn’t be who we are without the four of them.”
Plattsburgh State saw great success through its first-year athletes as well. Ava Carey and Jacklin Mitchell both saw starting roles in singles and doubles as partners and were a driving factor in many of the Cardinals’ wins this season.
Over the three games in Binghamton, the duo was able to secure wins in all three of their doubles contests. This feat earned them SUNYAC Women’s Tennis Doubles Team of the week.
In the #3 doubles match against Geneseo, Carey and Mitchell saw a threatening comeback when the Knights pushed the score from 7-3 to 7-5.7-5, sniffing a win.
Through some fantastic teamwork, they were able to secure the win.
“It’s definitely a lot of strategizing, me and Ava together,” Mitchell said. “She walks me through it and she knows, like ‘Do your lob game, do your lob game,’ and my lob game sets her up for a good shot. So we definitely worked together to make that happen.”
Henn is grateful to them for their work throughout the season, and remains excited to see them grow in upcoming competitions.
“Oh my gosh, I could not be more happy and excited to have the both of them on our team,” Henn said. “For them to be put in a starting lineups and maybe playing in spots they normally haven’t: like Jacklin played a little doubles in highschool but was mainly a singles player, and then Ava was mainly a doubles player — so for her to in turn play both, and do singles and doubles and excel in both, it is just so exciting to see.”
The Cardinals head into the offseason looking ahead. The losses have inspired many athletes on the roster to look for ways to refine their game so that they may come back and challenge the top end of the SUNYAC conference and make the Final Four.
“We need to hit more outside of practice, get together out of season, hit more, and work with our coaches on just rallying for longer. These teams don’t make as many mistakes as we do, so we need to make less mistakes,” Junior captain Hallie Hurwitz said.
Plattsburgh State ends its season with heads held high despite finishing with back-to-back losses. The team knows it took great strides in competing with the top of the conference.
“I’m viewing this season as a success. I mean, it didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to. Of course, we wanted to make the Final Four and get there, but while we didn’t achieve that, I still think that the drive is still there. The want is still there. The girls are going to come back again, hungry for it again next season,” Henn said.