VCU tennis program looks to continue success in the postseason

The VCU women’s tennis team huddles after doubles matches against Marshall University on April 10. Photo by Guy Enkh

Thai Wilson, Contributing Writer

The men’s and women’s tennis teams are moving onto conference championship play after playing their final games of the regular season.

The program is currently on consecutive title runs, with the men’s team winning four straight titles and the women’s team having won two conference titles straight, according to VCU Athletics. Both teams look to bring home the conference title for another consecutive year.

Men’s tennis aim to continue hot streak into the A-10 playoffs

VCU men’s tennis ended off the season with a 10-game win streak after a slow 2-3 start for the spring season, totaling the end-season record at 18-6. VCU head coach Anthony Rossi said this was a result of hard work and taking each match at a time.

“Yeah, I didn’t know it was 10 [win-streak]. Right now we’re trying to improve, they’re trying to keep building on their strength,” Rossi said. “Then just try to improve the new mistakes that we’ve been making.”

The Rams persevered against strongly ranked opponents like No. 19 University of Arizona Wildcats and No. 25 Auburn University Tigers while having a small team. Senior Charles Bertimon said even through adversity, the team has continued to elevate its game.

“I feel like we have been playing with only six players. We are a small team,” Charles Bertimon said. “I like to see our evolution as a team and see everyone is improving.”

Even with the small number of players, the black and gold have risen to be ranked No. 27 on the International Tennis Association’s team ranking board, according to the ITA Rankings. VCU head coach Rossi said the achievement is great for the players and team.

“I think you know, five years ago when I came here the team was like 150 [ranked], so it’s a good thing. It’s not necessarily what we focus on,” Rossi said. “It’s good to have that number but that doesn’t define who we are and what we do this year.”

The team has made strides to continue its momentum into the conference playoffs. Rossi said the team has been training all year to prepare for the conference championship.

“This is a process that I have started since August. So, it is not necessarily about how we are training now,” Rossi said. “We just keep doing what we’ve been doing since the beginning and that’s how we’re gonna approach it.”

Senior Rayane Stable said drive and dedication to the game contributed to the successful semester.

“To be honest it is a lot of work, from the beginning of the semester to even before the beginning of the semester just for conference that is coming up,” Stable said.

Depending on how the Rams perform in the A-10 conference championship, they have a chance to possibly play with a high seed in the NCAA tennis national championship tournament. While this would be a great accomplishment, Rossi said the team focuses on each day and the tournament ahead of them. 

“We don’t really look at the NCAA. We’re looking at today’s practice and tomorrow we’ll look at tomorrow’s practice and whatever next match comes up that’s what we’ll be looking at,” Rossi said.

Women’s tennis excited to continue playing 

The Rams ended its season with a 15-6 record. VCU head coach Vivian Segnini said she is proud of the team’s determination throughout the season.

“It was a very good season. I’m very happy about what we have achieved so far. They worked hard and focused on the things that they needed to improve on,” Segnini said. “They fought hard and they fought as a team.”

The women’s tennis team will face off in the A-10 conference tournament in Orlando, Florida at the United States Tennis Association National Campus on April 27. International Tennis Association ranked graduate student Paola Exposito Diaz-Delgado said she is looking forward to the conference tournament.

“I’m so excited to play at the conference and to be able to fight for the trophy,” Diaz-Delgado said.

Graduate student Nina Sorkin said she is excited to play in her first A-10 tournament with the Rams since transferring this year from Virginia Tech, according to VCU Athletics

“I played in the ACC tournament, but never the A-10. So, I am really excited to go to Orlando to fight with my new team and hopefully bring that trophy home,” Sorkin said.

Depending on its conference, the black and gold have a nice chance of making it into the NCAA Tournament as well. Segnini said she believes the team has made great strides this season, but is more attentive to conference play.

“We did everything that we had to do this semester, and the girls are playing well. I think that we are ready for the conference tournament,” Segnini said.

Both teams will be competing for the A-10 conference championship at the United States Tennis Association National Campus in Orlando, Florida on April 27-28.

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