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Tennis gears up for spring season

Published: January 24, 2013, 1:13 am ET
Katie Davidson /The Collegian
Sophomore Georgina Pans Cano returns a shot in a women’s tennis team practice.
Collegian Reporter

This season, the tennis teams are out for blood in the Atlantic 10 Championships, senior Alexandra Smyth said.

The men’s team finished the VCU 4 x 1 with a 4-1 win over James Madison University. The women’s team lost to William and Mary 1-6 on Jan. 15 in its opening match.

Smyth said she looked forward to playing all A-10 matchs because her team rallied together. “I also look forward to playing George Washington University,” Smyth said. “They’re a strong team, and we respect each other, but we are definitely out there to win and tear each others’ hearts out.”

Senior Ripley Hartmeyer said her team’s goal was to win the A-10 championship this year, for the fifth consecutive year.

Senior co-captain Sebastien Fauchet said his team had the talent to make a statement in the A-10 matches this season. The team’s goal was to improve, stay fit and avoid injuries so everyone could play every match, senior co-captain Justin Baker said.

“Right now our biggest weakness is injuries,” Hartmeyer said. “Our biggest strength is our experience and our determination to win. We have had great success in our conference before, so I think a lot of teams always expect us to do really well, which usually gives us an edge.”

Smyth said the women’s team was practicing to improve its doubles line-up because it would take pressure off of the singles players.

A personal goal for Smyth is to ease into the season after returning from a knee injury in the fall.

“It has been really emotional,” Smyth said. “I am most proud of my ability to not stress out over the little things. I know it’s a long season ahead of me, but I have to build from William and Mary and stay mentally strong.”

Baker said he most looked forward to playing Longwood University this semester. “If we can win this match, it will be a good indication of where we are at,” Baker said.

Men’s head coach Ben Johnson said this season was exciting because each match became more of a team event, where as the fall had been focused on each player.

Contact reporter Katie Davidson at katie.davidson@richmond.edu

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