October 4, 2016
By Christopher Sich
The Dominican University women’s tennis team has gone 2-7 so far this season, but their record is a poor indication of the improvements they have had throughout the season.
The Stars have a very young team, with four freshman and only three upperclassmen, but they gelled immediately which has boosted team confidence.
“Our team is extremely close, we love spending time with each other on and off the court and the team’s confidence is very high right now,” said sophomore Gabby Curran. “We are so much better than last year and all we can do now is keep improving.”
According to Jeff Halsema, the Assistant Director of Athletics who also helps oversee the women’s tennis team, the team is a tight-knit group that works well with each other. The team cohesiveness has been apparent, even with the recent coaching changes that the team has endured.
Halsema stated that Nicole Selvaggio resigned her position as head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Dominican University more than two weeks ago due to personal reasons. Ashley Turner, former assistant women’s coach, has now been named the head coach of the team.
“The search for a new head coach is ongoing,” Halsema said. “We must now keep moving forward and keep focused on the rest of the season.”
The team has done just that, they have kept an open mentality and kept working hard.
“We have taken everything as a learning experience,” Curran said. “We have been extremely open minded and coachable, and willing to work with what we have been given.”
The Stars dedication and work ethic has resulted in several improvements throughout the season. Curran highlights the teams improved communication skills as a factor to the team’s elevated overall play.
The Stars enhanced communication skills has translated to their on-court play.
“Their in match adjustments have improved throughout the season as well as their ability to identify and exploit opponents weaknesses,” Halsema said.
There is though still room for improvement as the Stars look to finish the season a high note. The Stars look to focus on their doubles play and conditioning as they finish the season with matches against conference rivals.
The Stars are focused on improving their doubles play partly due to the format of the collegiate competition. Every competition begins with three doubles matches, followed by the singles matches. It is important for the Stars to win their doubles matches so they head into the singles round of play with an advantage on the scoreboard. Going into singles play with a deficit makes the task of winning much more difficult.
“The team is currently working on becoming more aggressive at the net in doubles and closing out singles wins,” Curran said.
In order to play aggressive though, you must be well-conditioned, which the Stars have placed emphasis on in their training.
“We prepare with a lot of conditioning at practice, the more conditioned we are, the more endurance we have to pull out a win in singles,” Curran said. “We also work a lot on ball placement, strategy, and technique; we want to have good, solid ground strokes, and smart, but aggressive, placement at the net.”
The season is winding down, but there is a sign for optimism because the future looks bright. The Stars have their second to last match of the season today, at 4 p.m., against Division Street rivals Concordia University Chicago.