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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

Winter on the way


Tennis finishes out fall season with successful showing

The St. Joe’s women’s tennis team traveled to Newark, N.J. on Oct. 28 to take part in the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Invitational. St. Joe’s had a very impressive showing, winning the majority of their singles and doubles matches. The Hawks competed with Sacred Heart University, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Fairfield University in what was the team’s final tune up match before the season officially begins on Feb. 2.

After observing the  team’s progression over the past two months, head coach Ian Crookenden was very happy with the outcome of the weekend.

“I was very pleased with the results,” Crookenden said. “Primarily because they are all comparable schools to us, they all have solid programs, somewhat supported by scholarships, but not fully.”

St. Joe’s also showed a noticeable improvement in their doubles play, which has been a point of emphasis throughout the season.

“The most important thing that I was pleased with was with our doubles,” Crookenden said. “Freshman Amanda Nava and junior Isis Gill-Reid, our number one doubles team, won all three of their matches.  Senior Maureen Devlin and junior Laura Gomez, at number two doubles, went 2-1. Sophomore Katherine Devlin and freshman Iswarya Vel also went 2-1, so overall our doubles was seven wins and two losses, which is a great percentage.”

Crookenden attributes his team’s newfound doubles success to an increased focus on doubles within practice and the team being more comfortable with their partners.

“We’ve got combinations that have been working together and I think everybody is pretty comfortable with their partner now,” Crookenden said. “We’ve just been focusing a lot more on doubles. The team has been playing better basic doubles. They are returning better and holding serve consistently, and that has created our success on the doubles court.”

The Hawks went 10-8 in singles play, highlighted by Nava’s three wins against very high level players.

“Singles was good,” Crookenden said. “Once again Amanda [Nava] at number one went 3-0. She won all her matches and she’s the cream-of-the-crop. She’s leading the team really well.”

Nava was coming off a great showing at the International Tennis Association (ITA) Regionals, and Crookenden is very confident about how she will match up with number one singles players throughout the Atlantic 10 conference.

“Amanda beat the number one player from Duquesne at the ITA regionals,” Crookenden said. “She lost the first set 5-7, won the second set 6-4 and then won the super breaker against a very solid player from Duquesne who has been their number one player for three years. In the conference she is going to really challenge well.”

Nava’s competitive spirit and game to back it up will be a challenge for any competition in the A-10.

“I’ve always been known as a fighter,” Nava said. “No matter how far down I am, I usually try my best no matter what the score is, because I always want to win. ”

Nava has been playing exceptional tennis since the beginning of the season, but Crookenden knows she has a lot of areas to still improve. These areas include point construction and putting away high balls.

“I’m working a lot on her thinking that an overhead is her point,” Crookdenden said. “Because of her stature, people might think that they can go over her, and I want her to learn by her court position and her ability to hit the overhead, that they don’t want to try it.”

The rest of the team also fared well on the singles court. Crookenden noted that he rotated all of his players through the singles matches in order to give the younger members on the team more match experience.

“As a team we went 10-8 in our singles,” Crookenden said.  “Remember, that’s where we’re trying to get everybody to play, it’s not exactly all the time our one through sixth best player. Generally, I kept my one through five and then rotate.”

Crookenden explained the need to continue improving doubles over the next couple of weeks, as well as to continue emphasizing the importance of physical fitness.

“We are going to keep focusing on our doubles, and at this time, we also know that we have to maintain our fitness and conditioning,” Crookenden said. “Especially as we jump into the holiday period, it’s going to be up to the players to really be focused and to be able to come back in January, ready and where they are now as far as physical conditioning.”

The Hawks will look to continue their successful fall campaign into next year, squaring off against Saint Francis University on Feb. 2.

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