Thailon Wilson, Staff Writer
VCU’s men’s and women’s tennis programs are heading into the Atlantic 10 conference playoffs with confidence after both teams finished off their regular seasons with a win, according to VCU Athletics.
Both teams are going into this postseason as reigning champions in consecutive fashion. The men’s team is currently on a five-season winning streak as the reigning champions, according to VCU Athletics. The women’s team are also on a four-season winning streak as the reigning champions, according to VCU Athletics.
The team ended its season on a three-game winning streak for the spring season, totaling the end-season record at 17-5. Men’s head coach Anthony Rossi said the season went similarly to last year.
“We had some really good wins and some really close matches against Harvard and Wake Forest that we lost,” Rossi said. “We could have been better during some stages of matches, but overall we did good.”
The Rams had persevered against many International Tennis Association ranked teams like No. 30, Cornell University and No. 35, Tulane University.
VCU graduate student Charles Bertimon said the team had some hard losses, but overall a successful season that has him excited for the A-10 tournament.
“We had some tough losses during the season, but I think we had a pretty successful season,” Bertimon said. “I’m really excited about the A-10 and then hopefully NCAA.”
Bertimon is in his final season as a member of the black and gold, and said he is happy with the hard times and what they produced.
“I’ve been fighting so hard to have no regrets — looking back I just remember all the best memories and experiences I had here,” Bertimon said.
VCU graduate student Rayane Stable is also in his final year as a Ram. Stable said this year he was happy to be able to be a helping guide to the new freshmen adjusting to the college-style play.
“When things don’t go your way, I’m at least going to try and talk to you,” Stable said. “As a freshman, you don’t know what it is like to be a college player, but they picked it up quite good at the end.”
The Rams ended the season ranking No. 38 in the ITA Rankings. Bertimon said going forward, he looks at each match as potentially his last and wants to give it his all.
“The next match is potentially our last, so we don’t take it lightly,” Bertimon said. “We are excited about the A-10, and hopefully for the NCAA.”
The team finished its season with a win on the road against A-10 opponent Davidson College to finish the season with an overall record of 7-12, according to VCU Athletics. Women’s head coach Vivian Segnini said that this season was challenging, but there were positive aspects as well.
“It was challenging because some of our main players were dealing with illnesses and injuries, so that was a main issue,” Segnini said, “There were also some good wins like against JMU [James Madison University], so that was a positive.”
VCU freshman Victoria Matasova said she wasn’t nervous because of the support of her teammates and the fans against JMU.
“I wasn’t really nervous because I tried to do my best,” Matasova said. “When you play at home you don’t feel pressure, you feel support, because a lot of people came and they were cheering for us.”
Even with the injuries, the Rams were able to finish the season undefeated against A-10 opponents, according to VCU Athletics. Segnini said the conference matches are important because it gave them confidence and prepared them.
“Conference matches are very important, because the conference tournament is the most important tournament,” Segnini said. “It wasn’t easy, so even though we beat them, we want to go into the conference confident and ready to fight and win close matches.”
She is looking forward to the postseason tournament, because the team did their best in preparation for it, Matasova said.
“I am so excited because we did an amazing job,” Matasova said. “I think we will try especially hard for our seniors and grad students, because it is their final year and I want to finish our last matches strong.”