Despite being eliminated from SUNYAC pool play last Sunday, the Plattsburgh State tennis team has a lot to feel good about coming off of a strong season, finishing with an overall record of 10-4.
“We definitely have had one of the most successful seasons that the program has had in several years,” senior Kristen Napper said. “It’s definitely due to the coaches and their dedication to the program, but also the dedication and leadership that we had as a team. The seniors this year were all such great role models for the younger players on the team which really helped us get to where we are.”
With Napper being one of the departing seniors on the team this year, she recognizes the difficulties and responsibilities a collegiate athlete experiences. Being able to serve as a mentor and someone to look up to on the team certainly helped with not only her teammates, but taught her a lot about herself and about the game of tennis as well.
“Out of everything, I’ve learned that you will always have your ups-and-downs,” Napper said. “It’s important to surround yourself with people that support you, and the girls on our team have definitely done that all year long. I will definitely take these friendships way beyond this season.”
After defeating Fredonia State 5-2 in the first round of the SUNYAC tournament, the Cardinals faced off against the notoriously tough New Paltz tennis squad and were defeated 5-1, which put the Cards’ season on hold until next fall.
“Beating Fredonia gave us a lot of confidence heading in to the Final Four against New Paltz,” sophomore Kelci Henn said. “I feel like towards the end of the season that we were only just getting started. I think next year will definitely be a good season for us as well.”
Henn’s doubles teammate, senior Kaitlyn Healy, is one of the many seniors that helped propel this team in the right direction this season, and was the exact role model Henn needed playing on the court beside her.
“It’s really said to think about that I won’t be playing with her next year,” Henn said. “I have big shoes to fill with her graduating. I definitely learned how to stay positive while playing with her, no matter who our opponent was.”
In comparison to PSUC’s previous seasons, this year the Cards secured 10 victories – a total that the team was only able to amount in its previous two seasons combined.
There is no doubt that this program is headed in a positive direction, and a lot of that credit is due to third year head coach Annmarie Curle, who has taken the program under her wings and shifted the attitude towards the sport of tennis around campus.
“She’s really pulled us all together and made us known on campus, and has gotten us to compete at a higher level,” Napper said. “Her dedication to us as athletes, but as students and as people has really contributed to the success of this program.”
During pool play, teams send six players to represent each school to participate in the tournament. Despite having to support teammates while not physically being present during the matches, PSUC had a strong team bond that made it easy to support one another despite not being able to cheer and root on your teammates in live action.
“We were watching the live stream and staying in contact with our teammates who were participating during the weekend,” Napper said. “Even though the whole team could not all be there together, we all stayed connected and supported each other. That’s one thing that we’re all very good at – knowing that if you aren’t playing, you are still helping the team in a different way.”
After finishing the season being eliminated in the second round of pool play, PSUC has a lot to look forward to heading into next season with the amount of success endured this year.
“I’m so proud to have been able to be part of this team,” Napper said. “It’s definitely bitter sweet, we all enjoyed the ride together.”
Email Ezra Kachaturian at email@example.com