The Oswego State women’s tennis team is slowly approaching the end of their 2017 season. This coming weekend, they will be heading to Binghamton, New York, to play in the SUNYAC Championship tournament.
Despite an overall record of 3-7, head coach Shane Evans is happy with the season and the direction that the team could possibly be heading in the upcoming seasons.
“I’m actually very impressed with the season, despite the win-loss record,” said Evans. “The matches have been a lot closer this year. I’m very happy with where this team is going.”
At the end of the regular season, the team faced some close matches against teams like Plattsburgh State and SUNY Fredonia. Three losses resulted in a 4-5 loss to the Lakers, including a 3-6 loss. Had one more match gone their way, the record could’ve been a lot better, according to Evans.
“I think we could’ve won any of them if we won the final match,” said Evans. “Tennis can be really back-and-forth. Any of them could’ve gone our way.”
Overcoming the challenges that have faced the team all season is Haru Kobayashi. The Tokyo native has won eight of her 10 matches this season, all in singles. As a strong leader on the team, Evans described her as very reliable.
“She’s confident with herself on the court,” said Evans, who is in his third year as head coach. “She has such a good attitude, which is very infectious with the rest of us. It keeps our spirits high. Nothing really gets her down, which is why she has such a good record.”
With the final match of the regular season occurring on Oct. 12 against St. John Fisher College, the team now looks toward the SUNYAC Championships. While the team has an 0-3 conference record, with losses to SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Geneseo and The College at Brockport, none of that matters for the weekend.
“We’ve just got to have confidence going into this weekend,” Evans said. “We know that we’re not out of it just because we’re 0-3. If we stick to the plan, we should be set up well.”
Junior Lorrayne Broach is also embracing this coming weekend. She is hoping that this weekend becomes a team effort to show conference rivals their potential, despite what they might have seen during the regular season.
“We want to do the best we can do and show them what we have,” Broach said. “We’ve been the underdogs for a while. So, to be the best we can be is something we’re all aiming towards.”
Broach had three singles wins and two doubles win throughout the season. While she wanted to accomplish a little more this season individually, she was impressed with how the team came together this season.
“We’ve definitely made some headway this season,” Broach said. “Everyone’s behind each other, one hundred percent.”
Along with Kobayashi and Broach, Evans is looking for some other players to shine during the championships. He not only wants to see how his senior class performs but watch what freshman Bridget Bender can do in this kind of situation. Generally, he wants to see some solid gameplay and positive attitudes from everyone.
“She’s been a crucial addition to our team as a freshman,” Evans said. “I’d like to see how she competes under tournament pressures.”
The freshman has been a decent singles player all season. She also served as Broach’s partner during doubles, and the pair won a few matches throughout the season together.
Broach is looking forward to how Jill Burns plays this weekend as well. Burns previously played at Broome Community College before transferring to Oswego State.
“I want to see everyone play well, but definitely Burns,” Broach said. “She’s been fighting through the season, and she definitely earned her spot.”
After the match against St. John Fisher College on Oct. 12, Evans does not have a specific goal for SUNYACs, but a goal for the team as they move forward into next season after the weekend concludes.
“I want the team to realize we haven’t been out of this, just because of the losses,” Evans said. “We’ve been close every match, and with some new additions next year that I’m hoping to get, I want to hopefully be middle of the pack next season.”
Photo: Jim McGregor