This past Saturday, the Mary Washington men’s and women’s tennis teams hosted the UMW Kickoff Classic at the Battleground tennis center.
Teams that attended the tournament included the University of Richmond, Longwood University, George Mason University and Liberty University.
Standout performances from the men’s side included Baver (6-2, 6-2), sophomore William Apperson (6-0, 3-1 ret), and freshmen Mark Hyland (6-0, 6-1).
On the women’s courts, highlights came from seniors Courtney Goimarac and Megan Lawlor’s pair of doubles victories (9-7 and 9-7), as well as the impressive doubles victory from the pairing of senior Danielle Verlardi and freshman Cassie Bowman (9-7).
Following this past weekend’s strong start, both squads are very optimistic about the season ahead and their team goals.
“Our goal is to leave all we have out on the court every time we play, Goimarac said. “If we fight until the end, win or lose, it’s a successful day. Ultimately, we would like to make it back into the final 8 of the NCAA tournament and be ranked in the top 10 nationally.”
Upon arriving to campus at the beginning of the semester, both UMW tennis teams have been hard at work with a rigorous training regimen guided by their coaches Patrick Catullo, Todd Helbling and Art Canizares.
The Eagles have been working on the courts six days a week to improve on technique, with special attention put towards strength, agility and flexibility. The Kickoff Classic was the first chance the men and women were able to apply what they have been practicing in real match play with the new incoming class of freshmen.
“This was our first time all playing together. We are still learning how our team functions, how people act, what shots go where, and who has what ball,” junior Riley Baver said.
This year on match days, the teams are taking a more direct approach style and are not wasting any time.
“Our mind set is always to wear our opponents down, but we are also looking to play more aggressively to win the point rather than wait for our opponents to miss. We are taking more chances in net play and keeping our opponents on the run,” Goimarac said.
As for the new freshmen, they have been adjusting to college tennis and settling into Eagle tennis nicely.
“Playing for a new team feels great… having people there you can count on, whether it’s pumping you up and cheering for you or helping you after a loss. High school tennis seemed to be more relaxed and slow paced. College matches here are very fast. You are on and off the court before you know it,” freshman Lauren Gaspar said.
Both teams will return to the Mary Washington courts next weekend on Oct. 2 for the ITA regional championships.