October 26, 2010

Women’s Tennis Team Trains With New Coach’s Style of Play

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The women’s tennis team has come up with some promising results already this season, and with the leadership of a new head coach, the team is hoping to keep this positive trend going throughout the year.

New head coach Mike Stevens comes to Cornell after coaching at Binghamton for seven years. During his time at Binghamton, he helped the team to a 91-39 dual match record with a ninth place rank in the ITA Northeast Region last season. He has also held coaching positions at Rider University and N.C. State, and competed as a player in his years as an undergraduate at Richmond.

This change in coaching staff will hopefully be a new beginning for the women’s tennis program, which has gone through four different head coaches over the last four years.

“There has been a lot of turnover and changes,” said senior Leah Seyburn. “So we are looking forward to this year and years to come, with someone to provide stability for the program. Practice is much more structured. He is very organized and looking for success.”

Stevens has made changes to the team’s usual practice regime, asking the players to put in more time in the weight room and to try and improve a little every day on the courts.

“I don’t know what they did in the past, but we’re trying to install a work ethic that will get us to the next level,” Stevens said. “I believe they are probably training more, and with more intensity than in the past.”

“We’re focusing more on conditioning so we’re in the gym a lot more,” said senior captain Sinziana Chis.

She added that one of the biggest challenges for the team was to maintain focus all year.

“To balance school work with over 20 hours a week of tennis, it’s hard for every person to remain focused,” she said.

“Our goals are to do well in the Ivy League and win all our non-conference matches. In order to see improvement on and off the court, we have been working very hard,” Seyburn noted. “The team is very young, but overall I think it is going to be a great year. We have a lot of potential.”

The team has already experienced some favorable results this fall.

“Fall is individual season, while spring is for the team,” Chis explained. “Last weekend [at the USTA Women’s College Invitational in Flushing, N.Y.], two teams won their flights in doubles.”

“We had good results at the home tournament [September 17-19],” Stevens added. “The women on the team won three of five flights, two singles and two doubles.”

The team will have a couple more chances to compete this fall, before heading into the main spring season.

“We have two more tournaments and we keep improving. Every time, we’ve been better and better,” Chis said. “Regionals are this weekend and we also have a tournament at Harvard, which is a good place to get a lot of matches in.”

The team has six players going to the regional tournament this coming weekend.

“We have three doubles teams and three singles,” Stevens said. “The regional tournament is the biggest for the fall. It’s all of the schools from the Northeast Region, so all the best schools will be there.”

“Then we have Harvard the first weekend of November,” Seyburn added. “There will be more Ivy competition, and we can see what we need to do to beat those teams in the spring.”

It seems the team can expect great results this year.

“We’d like to build and develop the program into a team that can compete in the Ivy League year in and year out,” Stevens said. “It takes everyone on the team to get to the next level. We’re doing our best to see how well we can do in the Ivy League this year.”

Original Author: Rebecca Velez