posted 2012-09-21 19:02:20

Women’s Tennis Preview

Andy Bell-Baltaci

Contributing Writer

The Hunter women’s tennis team has always been a dominant force in the CUNYAC, and this year they will look to capture a remarkable 13th consecutive conference championship under new coach Francis Ferdinand. Last year under interim head coach David Eddy, the Hawks went 10-3 in CUNYAC play, capturing yet another conference title on their way to the NCAA tournament.

Even more astounding was the fact that, last year, two-thirds of the team members were freshmen, many of whom will return to the court this fall, hungry for more success. Says the team’s captain, senior Jane Selegean, “It is great to have returning first year members on this year’s roster. They all have grown and become more competitive and stronger players.”

Selegean certainly earned the title of Captain after her phenomenal record last year. She went 8-1 in singles and 10-2 in doubles. In many of her doubles matches, Selegean joined forces with Jennifer Kraham, now a senior, who herself posted a 13-3 doubles record last year.
Beth Chapnick, a sophomore who will return to play this fall after joining the team as a freshman, attributes the success of the team to clutch performances and good chemistry. “We all come together and pull through in the end and we fight our hardest for the win [....] Every challenge we face, we face as a team, and from our past success we always concur it as a team too.”

Coach Ferdinand played Division I tennis in college, and according to Selegean, developed a very intense work ethic. “We have fully adjusted to a new training regimen and strive to improve our conditioning and skill with every workout,” she says. “It’s hard work but very rewarding.”

Beth Chapnick shared similar thoughts, saying, “She’s definitely training us on a higher level, and come match time it should show.”

The women’s tennis team has many substantial goals for this coming season. Although the team has won 12 consecutive CUNYAC championships, it has not had the same success in the NCAA tournament, falling in the second round in each of the last two years. Hopefully, the carryover in team chemistry from last year’s squad will strengthen them in their quest to go deeper in the tournament, should they win a 13th straight conference crown this year.
As for Selegean’s goals, they speak for the unselfish attitude she shares with the rest of the team. “I hope to build a stronger relationship with all the players, win the CUNYAC, go far in the NCAAs, and create a stronger rapport with the men’s tennis team as well as with all the athletics teams in general.”

Last year, the team had a strong showing at the annual Hunter sports awards banquet, with Jennifer Kraham delivering the evening’s invocation. In terms of awards, Caroline Kaleda and Selegean were awarded Gold Academic Awards, Selegean also won the team’s MVP Award, Gina Yeo won the team’s Most Improved Award and Kraham won the Coach’s Award.
In terms of challenges, most people overlook the fact that the tennis team must excel not only on the court but in the classroom as well. “We all have full schedules on top of practices and matches and not only do we aim for a high level of athletics but a high level of academics as well,” says Chapnick on what the biggest challenge of playing for the team is. “You want to play your best and not let the team, your coach, or yourself down.”

This fall, aside from the usual slate of CUNY competition, the Hawks will take on a few non-conference opponents as well. They will attempt to avenge last year’s losses to St. Joseph’s College (Long Island) and Mt. Saint Mary’s. They will also go to Geneva, NY to participate in the ITA Tournament. The CUNYAC Tournament will begin on October 17th with the quarterfinals and will finish with the finals on October 21st. Hopefully by then, the Hawks will be celebrating their 13th consecutive CUNYAC title.