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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Hawks tennis off to a soaring start


 St. Joe’s tennis shot out of the gate at the start of the 2021 season with both the men’s and women’s tennis teams off to 2-0 starts to their seasons.

The men’s team started off defeating Coppin State University 6-1 on Feb. 13, followed by a 4-3 victory over Chestnut Hill College on Feb. 20. The women’s team beat the same two schools on the same dates, both by a score of 6-1. 

Ian Crookenden, head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams, said both teams were well prepared and eager to compete for the first time in a little under a year.

“The desire to compete has really helped everybody settle in,” Crookenden said. “Our quality of play has progressed faster than previous years.” 

Senior Amanda Nava, from the women’s team, was selected to the Atlantic 10 (A-10) All-Conference First Team in 2018 and 2019, but said those accolades come second to the success of her team as they return to the court.

“Even though tennis is more of an individual sport, we are really playing it as a team,” Nava said. “We are making sure that everyone knows we are a team.”

According to Crookenden, the mindset and drive from both Nava and senior Nathan Perrone, from the men’s tennis team, contributed to the early success of both teams.

“The level of play up and down the squad has increased,” Crookenden said. “That has been apparent in our matches so far, and we are trending upwards.”

Perrone was also selected to the All-Conference First Team A-10 in 2019. Perrone said he could not find the same success early on last season, as he tried to play through a torn hamstring.

“I forced myself to play, but I was only 50% healthy,” Perrone said. “I was losing some matches that I probably should not have lost.”

Crookenden said a player usually has to be groomed to play the number one spot, but both Perrone and Nava were prepared to step in and play in the top spot the moment they got to campus, helping their teams fill out the rest of their rosters.

“When you are recruiting players, they usually look at who your top players are,” Crookenden said. “Having two players of [Perrone’s] and [Nava’s] caliber means that we can recruit players that are talented enough to be able to practice with our top players without a big gap.”

Nava said improving the little things will be the key to maintaining success for both teams throughout the season.

“We have to continue training the way we are, and stay focused,” Nava said. “We have to keep improving day by day.”

Both teams are set to host Mount St. Mary’s University on March 6 for their next matchups.


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