After coming to a screeching halt last season, Greenville University’s Women’s Tennis Team looks to continue what was shaping up to be a great season last year. The start of the 2020 season for the girls was a hot one, going 7-2 on the shortened season as well as going undefeated during their spring break trip in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Men and Women’s Head Coach Brett Brannon mentioned that this was the first undefeated spring break trip in team history. Lots of things were going well, but will they be able to transition that amazing start to this year? Will this team be able to revive what was lost?
For the 2021 season, the squad will be represented by 7 athletes, 2 of whom are newcomers. The team lost a big chunk of the core of its team when 6 players from last year’s roster graduated. However, junior returner Claudia Principal still believes in her teammates and is ready to prove their skill. “I am confident about this team although we lost some important players last season,” she stated. Principal also mentioned that although the team is a bit smaller this year, they are still poised to come back stronger than ever. The team includes 5 returners: Michelle Lynch, Emily Buratovich, Claudia Principal, Samantha Siefken, and Noelle Beans. The newcomers of this squad are Addison Brannon and Shaling Reynolds.
Although the 2021 matches for this unproven women’s tennis team have been canceled for the rest of their season, the team is still on the court and looking to making big adjustments behind the scenes. Principal said, “We are looking forward to improving individually.” On top of the skill side of things, she also exclaimed that this will also be a great time to “bond more as a team.” With little activities still being held both on and off campus, many athletes have dedicated a lot of their free time to enjoy the sport they love, and the results of this pandemic on sports teams like this one will be known in due time.
For now, the team looks to take the home courts in an effort to continue to improve on their head-turning beginning of last year’s season. The dynamic of practice and this team are still up in the air, but it is still early. Many things will begin to take shape for this new and tight team. Principal said, “Coach Brannon is focusing on each player to be our very best next season.” So far, the practices have started off well with all players continuing to follow the respective COVID guidelines for tennis. Little things like no physical contact, including between doubles partners, as well as social distancing will prove to be a key factor in the rebuilding of a normal routine for these tennis players. Due to the distance between players on the court, Principal believes that practices will continue smoothly and maybe even have an early rebirth of their anticipated 2021 season. “I think in the long run, tennis will be a safe sport for [us] to play.”
Media by Seth Isringhausen.