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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

The final serves

The+final+serves

Tennis winds down regular season and prepares for A-10’s

The Saint Joseph’s University men’s and women’s tennis teams wrapped up their respective regular seasons this week. The women went on the road to face Villanova University and suffered a disappointing 1-6 loss on April 20. The men finished their season on a high note, handing out decisive 7-0 defeats to both Rider University and Saint Peter’s University on April 23.

A 1-6 loss was a fitting end to a somewhat disappointing season for the women’s team. A lack of depth on the roster, according to Head Coach Ian Crookenden, made this season particularly difficult for the Hawks.

“We had a thin year this year,” Crookenden said. “We didn’t have a lot of depth like we might have had in the past. If somebody wasn’t playing well there wasn’t anybody to pick up the slack.”

Although this season was disappointing, the future looks bright, because this  problem will soon change according to Crookenden. The team will add new recruits next year, which will provide much needed support for the years to come.

“It’s a sizable class, at least five right now,” Crookenden said. “We will be a young team next year, the incoming talent will be on a comparable level to what’s leaving [five seniors], but with experience and a future ahead of them.”

The men’s team bounced back after losing their previous match to Villanova, cruising to two victories over the weekend. The Hawks defeated Rider and Saint Peter’s 7-0 apiece, not losing a single set.

Crookenden was very happy with the results and all around good performances from every member of the team.

“It was a very good homestand,” Crookenden said. “We were pretty consistent across the board and we used everyone on the squad at some point during the day and everybody had a win. That’s very positive for us going into the conference championship.”

The Atlantic 10 Conference championship begins on April 26 and Crookenden has nothing but confidence in the team going forward.

“We are playing with a poise and confidence that is coming at the right time of the season,” he said. “We’ve had some tough matches and some disappointments, but we’re going in at the end of the season at a high note and I think it will carry over.”

Although the team won,  the match was bittersweet. It marked the final time senior captain Kyle Chalmers would play an official match at St. Joe’s. Chalmers won both of his final home matches, the latter being his 73rd victory. This win tied him for most career singles wins of all time at St. Joe’s and cemented his legacy as one of the greatest tennis players to set foot on Hawk Hill.

Crookenden not only praised Chalmers on court play, but spoke extensively about the leadership and competitiveness he brought to every match.

“He has always been a leader and an individual that maximizes every opportunity,” Crookenden said. “His competitive spirit is magnificent, and I think he’s in the record books at St. Joe’s, as he deserves to be.”

Chalmers is not just an exceptional tennis player, he is also an exceptional leader, according to Crookenden.

“He has led by example,” Crookenden said. “He is not a leader from behind. He’s not a pusher. He’s a leader that is out in front and says come with me and do it this way. He keeps pitching in and showing everybody that nobody is too big or too important not to do the little things.”

Though Chalmers never saw himself being in this position as one of the most decorated tennis players of all time at this program, he takes pride in his accomplishments.

“I just like playing tennis,” Chalmers said. “The goal was to just win as many matches as possible and to have fun doing it. I wanted to enjoy the team experience and live in the moment because I only get four years of collegiate level tennis.”

Chalmers is most proud of being captain of the tennis team and always putting forth his best effort.

“Being able to lead the tennis team is my proudest achievement,” he said. “Knowing that whatever I did, whether athletic, academic, or something else, that I gave it 100 percent. I’m going to graduate with no regrets, which is pretty cool. I’ve made the most out of my time here [at St. Joe’s].”

Chalmers’ leadership and talent will be missed next season, as the program and school says goodbye to one of its best players. He now has 73 career singles victories, which ties Antonio Aniello, ’09, for the school record, according to SJU Athletics.

The men’s and women’s teams will travel to Orlando on April 26 to compete in the A-10 championships, and Chalmers will have an opportunity to gain sole possession of the all-time singles victory record at St. Joe’s.

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