The Ursinus College Women’s Tennis team is back and ready for their spring season to commence.
Head Coach Pete Smith is in his third year of coaching the team and he’s confident that the team is going to continue to make historical strides.
“They changed the culture, putting together back to back winning seasons for the first time in a long, long time,” said Smith. “This year, I believe we can make it three in a row.”
In the 2015-2016 season the Bears had a record of 11-7, with three All-Centennial Conference selections. After going 20 years without an All-Conference player, the streak was broken by juniors Aileen Bevard and Ariel Danzinger.
Danzinger and Bevard hope to continue to dazzle on the court this spring. Captains for the 2017 campaign include seniors Christine Palazzolo and Robin Alsher and junior Aileen BeVard.
Ashler says her “hopes for the season are to have a winning record and to make it to the playoffs for the second time since [she] was a freshman.”
Ashler is most excited this year to be playing doubles with her roommate, friend, and co- captain Christine Palazzolo. The bears are also looking forward to their annual spring break trip where they are traveling to Orlando, Florida to play six matches against tough competitors: Kings College and Alvernia University.
Once the bears return from the Sunshine State, conference play begins Saturday, Feb. 25th at Franklin and Marshall.
Smith has confidence in his team, saying, “The women’s side of the Centennial Conference is full of extremely talented teams, but I do think we have a chance to push for the conference playoffs.”
The Ursinus College Men’s Tennis team is also back in 2017 trying to achieve their seventh straight winning season under Coach Smith.
Last April, the Bears were ranked 19th in the final set of Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Atlantic South rankings. This was the first time for the program to receive a regional ranking and senior captain Jordan Hodess is ready for his team to be ranked again.
“This year we look to solidify our place in the rankings,” he said. “We have a talented and hard-working team. One of our strengths is our depth: We have players in every position who can win matches.”.
Last season Ursinus had three players who received all centennial conference accolades: Max Oberholtzer, Paul Vecchio, and 2016 graduate Tyler Arsenault. Smith thinks the team this year has the potential to be one of the best yet. “We have great senior leadership in Jordan Hodess, Chanton Phan, and Henry Burke,” said Smith. “We also have depth—we have solid players in all six spots in the lineup, plus two returning doubles teams from last year. The margin for error is small; there is no doubt about that. Men’s tennis in the Centennial Conference is a minefield of talented teams.”
Like the women, the men will be traveling to Orlando, Florida this spring break to compete against Monmouth University and Clarke University. The Bears kick off their spring season when returning on March 14th with a home match against Cabrini University, where they will start making strides towards their ultimate goal of winning a Centennial Conference Championship.