SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Following
their first competition-free weekend since the start of the 2012 fall season,
the Seton Hall tennis team looks to continue their hot start at this weekend’s
USTA Collegiate Invitational.
Freshman Julia Keenan is 7-0
with two C Flight titles to her
Freshman Julia Keenan is 7-0
Through two tournaments, the team has posted a collective .774 winning percentage insingles matches and has claimed five of a possible eight singles flight titles. Four different players have accounted for the five titles, led by two championship wins for freshman Julia Keenan (Greenland, N.H.), who has yet to drop a set this season. Junior Chloe Sher (Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong) and sophomores Maria Rodriguez (Bogota, Colombia) and Anna Guryanova (Moscow, Russia) also have singles flight crowns ton their credit.
Overall, SHU has excelled in singles due in large part to the depth of its lineup. Six of the squad’s eight players have recorded at least five individual victories, led by seven apiece from Guryanova and Keenan. Sher and Rodriguez each have six wins as does freshman Alex Landert (Naples, Fla.), followed by sophomore Madison Shoemaker (Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia) with five.
Competition at the upcoming USTA event is expected to include as many as eight singles flights. Seeding and matchups have yet to be determined but the listed field features strong programs from up and down the east coast, providing the Pirates with another solid test. Some of the teams filling out the bracket include Boston College, NC State, conference powers Binghamton and Fairleigh Dickinson, in-state rival Rutgers and a number of teams representing a stacked Ivy League contingent.
“With a week off sometimes you need to find a balance between staying in form and getting rest,” said head coach Greg Wyzykowski. “I think the rest did our team some good though, and I don’t anticipate rust being a major issue this weekend. We also had the opportunity to go through video of our matches to this point and I think that is going to pay dividends. Through the video sessions, we stressed employing a more aggressive approach and consistently attacking the ball. Our team has the skill-set to play an up-tempo style and with a talented field ahead of us, it is going to take that kind of mentality for us to have the main draw success we are looking for."
A point of emphasis entering the season, the Seton Hall has shown improvement on the doubles court as well. Despite the fact that half of the Pirates’ pairs have just two competitions under the belt as a team, the team has registered solid results. SHU has compiled an 18-14 doubles record through two competitons, highlighted by an A flight championship win by Sher and Rocio Portela (Demetrio Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) at the Bill and Sandra Moore Invitational.
“This weekend is a pivotal couple days for us,” continued Wyzykowski. “As a program, we are fighting to be recognized as one of the top teams in the region. Playing well at the USTA will put us in position to send more of our team to the ITA Tournament to close the fall. Doing so would be a major step towards earning rankings as a team and in singles and doubles as well. I believe we have the talent to place at least two Seton Hall doubles pairs in the rankings. We have put in the work and our team is more than capable of getting results, now it comes down to showing it in competition. If they stay focused on their approach and controlling the things within their power throughout their matches, this group can get it done.”
Play at the USTA Collegiate Invitational will begin tomorrow, Saturday October 6 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, N.Y. The three-day tournament will conclude on Monday, October 8.