By Grant Playter | Staff Writer
Ewing — The dog days of summer have begun to fade, and as leaves fade from green to brown, the time to beat feet to the tennis courts has come. Tennis season has kicked off with a bang with the Lions Kickoff Tournament, held at The College of New Jersey.
The games were a slew of single-round matches, the first to win six games wins the set, while the first to two sets would win the match. Of the eight matches hosted on this first-day, six went to TCNJ and two to NYU.
“This tournament, which we host every year is good competition just to get our women ready for the season,” Lions tennis head coach Scott Dicheck said. “And honestly, this fall we have a couple goals. One, to win the conference and qualify for the NCAA Tournament and keep that winning streak alive. And the second part is to get ready for regional play and hopefully get some All-Americans.”
The winning streak, Dicheck speaks of, is quite impressive. For 34 consecutive years, the women’s tennis team at TCNJ has placed first in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. Additionally, for the past 11-years, women from TCNJ have made appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Brittany Reed, one of three captains on the team, shut out her opponent in the first set against Vanessa Scott. The second set was a 6-3 contested set.
“When you’re playing a match, like that, you have to stay focused the whole time,” Reed said. “You can’t be thinking too far ahead saying ‘I’m up, I’ll win the match’ that never works out well. So I just try to play it point-by-point and game-by-game and try to stay as steady as I can and not make any mistakes and it worked out well for me.”
Reedman made a point to stress how important focus is when asked about the challenges she felt in this particular game.
“There’s a lot of matches going on all around you and you see your teammates around and you wanna support them,” Reedman said. “But you have to remember you have to stay focused on your match and you can’t cheer in the middle of a point for someone else.
“So it’s trying to balance the fact that I’m playing by myself, my match, on my own court, but also wanting to support your teammates and root for them, that’s a tough thing for me.”
The Lions Kickoff Tournament will continue on Saturday, starting the doubles games. While this tournament is NYU’s first rostered game of the season, TCNJ has already competed at Rutgers-Camden Scarlet Raptors and Kean University Cougars this year. Nonetheless, Coach Dicheck stresses how important these games are to the two schools.
“It’s a friendly rivalry, they’re probably our main rival,” Dicheck said. “But it’s a good rivalry, not a heated rivalry. Last year they beat us 5-4, and it’s always good match-ups.”
Full Results Breakdown (Winners in BOLD)
Sneha Rangu vs. Fluera Shiyanova (6-0, 6-0)
Brittany Reedman vs. Vanessa Scott (6-0, 6-3)
Alyssa Baldi vs. Kate Shaffer (7-5, 6-4)
Audrey Chen vs. Judy Kam (6-4, 6-3)
Andrea Giacobbo vs. Anna Maria Buraya (6-1, 6-0)
Emily Szkudlarski vs. Liza Hedegus (7-6, 7-4, 6-3)
Maddy Stoner vs. Ayesha Das (6-1, 6-1)
Grace Minassian vs. Christina Brumbaugh (6-1, 6-3)
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