As upperclassmen reacquaint with life on campus and freshmen learn to navigate campus, there is one collection of students who know exactly what they are doing: the University of Mary Washington men’s and women’s tennis teams.
At least that has been the case for the Eagles on the court. Both coming off seasons in which they finished in the top 30 nationally, the tennis teams aim to leave their mark once more.
For Coach Patrick Catullo and the women’s team, success on the court is nothing foreign. Catullo led the women’s tennis team to a 132-46 record during the last seven years.
While many talented players have come and gone in that time, last year’s team mark of 20-5 had a lot do with current senior Lindsay Raulston, a two time All-American and a winner of 20 games last year.
The secret to Roulston’s personal success? Her simple approach.
“I just go out, compete and try and play my absolute best every single match,” she said.
This competitive attitude helped her to finish last year ranked 2nd in the region and 6th in the nation, something she is very proud of.
“Being named an All-American last year and the year before was awesome. Coming to college I never expected I would be an All-American and…be ranked 6th in the national rankings,” Raulston said.
She was not the only All-American on last year’s team.
Sophomore Shelby Harris finished 10th in the nation with Raulston as her doubles partner, and she is ready to contribute once again this year.
“The biggest goal I have for the team this year is to go farther than we did in the NCAA’s last year and to win our conference for the 11th straight year,” she said.
Catullo seeks to improve on a season that landed the Eagles in the top 20 nationally.
“With seven freshmen and six upper classmen on last year’s team, finishing [in the top] 20 is a terrific accomplishment. We look to build on last year’s successes and continue to move up in the national rankings,” Catullo said.
For the men’s team, under Coach Todd Helbling, the goals look similar.
“We have result oriented goals of winning the CAC Conference, making the NCAA’s and being in the top 15 teams in the nation,” Helbling said.
Such lofty goals were not out of reach for the men’s team in recent years. Last year, the team finished the spring season ranked 28th nationally, which totaled to 13 straight seasons finishing in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Top 30.
This year, Helbling has the philosophy of controlling what the team can control and improving each day.
Six talented returning players will set the pace while five new players, including one transfer, look to make an impact this year.
“Our group of new players appears to be very solid, and several will have great chances to contribute immediately,” Helbling said.
While no formal team workouts took place this summer, Helbling said players spent their summers working hard on their own.
One of those players is junior Tyler Carey, a 15 game winner and All-American last year, who looks to lead the team to greater success this year.
“Improving on last year won’t be an easy task as there [are] no guarantees in sports. The only thing I can guarantee is that there is no substitute for hard work and I will only work harder this year,” Carey said.