Women’s Tennis Drops First Spring Conference Meets of ‘09-‘10 Season

Despite a strong 4-2 non-conference performance during the Fall semester, Women’s tennis suffered a setback last week with two conference losses against Wesley College and Salisbury University, another College team hindered by Spring 2010 weather conditions.

The Seahawks began the season with a shutout win over Chowan College on Sept. 18, a 9-0 non-conference away meet. The Seahawks took all six singles and all three doubles competitions, including a perfect 6-0, 6-0 singles win by freshman Beth Handy.

Following a 5-4 non-conference win over Virginia Wesleyan College during the Virginia Wesleyan’s Beach Shootout on Sept. 19, in which hard-fought singles flight wins by Handy and freshman Marie Rau took the victory, the Seahawks were served their first loss of the season at home on Sept. 26, as Catholic University won all but one doubles and one singles competition against the College. The athletes’ two wins were made by sophomore Chelsea Bradcovich in singles and Handy and sophomore Jackie Brady in doubles.
The team made up for the loss the following day with a 9-0 shutout against the Penn State University Abington, as the Seahawks took all singles and doubles competitions for the non-conference victory. Rau and sophomore Kathleen Ramsey managed perfect 8-0 singles wins against the Nittany Lions.

Following the Goucher Open during the weekend of Oct. 3, the College suffered its second loss of the season with a close 5-4 non-conference defeat by Shenandoah University, as Handy took her second loss of the season in the deciding singles match against the Hornets.

The team finished the Fall portion of the 2009-2010 season with a third shutout win on Oct. 13 against Lancaster Bible College, bringing the Seahawks to an overall 4-2 non-conference spread before Winter break. Bradcovich finished the semester with a 6-0 dual record.
“They did well for having so many new freshman [players],” said Coach Derek Sabedra, now in his fourth season with the Seahawks.
After returning to campus, however, the players were forced indoors, as a mix of snowstorms and rain prevented the team from using the tennis courts outside of the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center. “We haven’t had a whole lot of outside practice,” said third-year captain Michelle Compton. “And inside, you can’t really practice.”

While scheduled to play Virginia University for home-game action following break on Feb. 26, the game was cancelled due to weather.
The College’s baseball team faced a similar setback after the Feb. snowstorm, which covered the Hawk’s Nest infield and prevented outside practices and nine consecutive games.

Many teams that use the outdoor fields have been forced to reschedule games and work around practices in the gyms due to the weather conditions. Men’s lacrosse was forced to reschedule its game against Dickinson College, women’s lacrosse was forced to postpone its season-opener.

“We haven’t been able to practice as much because of the rain and snow,” said first-year athlete Marie Rau. “We haven’t had many matches either.”

Similar to the other affected teams, the lady Seahawks lost their first match of the Spring, as Wesley handed the team its first conference loss on the College’s courts on Mar. 24, 5-4. The team was not able to recover from the defeat before facing Salisbury three days later, losing 8-1 to the Sea Gulls and suffering another conference loss.

“The ladies have had to cancel three matches and the men have cancelled five matches thus far,” said Sabedra. “It’s caused havoc in rescheduling.”

The team continues to maintain a strong bond among its athletes, both on and off the courts. “They hang out together,” said Sabedra, “and they like having team gatherings.”

When compared to the high school level, Rau said that college tennis is “a little more of a commitment, but it gives me something to be a part of.”

Despite the setback, the athletes continue to prepare for their next meet, on Mar. 30 against Washington College. “The coach has been setting up practices that will help us to the fullest degree,” said Compton. “We’re generally well-rounded, but we just need to work on consistency.”

Following Tuesday’s meet, the Seahawks will host a non-conference game at home on Mar. 31 against the Trinity Washington University Tigers, rescheduled from Mar. 26, followed by an away-game against the Mary-Baldwin College Fighting Squirrels on Thursday, Mar. 27.

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