The Oswego State women’s tennis team concluded its fall season with a 5-4 loss to Elmira College Oct. 11. With a final record of 3-12 (0-3), the Lakers find themselves in the same position as last year, eighth place in the conference.
Nevertheless, they recorded the most wins since the 2009-10 season, in which they also won three matches. The Lakers see this as a big improvement over the past two seasons, where their combined win total matched this year’s win total alone. Looking forward, they can only improve from here, as the team is filled with young talent that has gained valuable experience for the future.
The Lakers got off to a slow start, losing their first six matches, four of which were 0-9 shutouts. In their seventh match, the girls were finally able to enter the win column with a 5-4 victory over Alfred State.
Nicole Leader, who won her doubles and singles matches in the number one position, led them. Senior captain Kelly Corwin and sophomore Haley Miller also registered singles victories.
Although the team was unable to turn the season around from there, they were able to convincingly defeat Wells College, 8-1, and edge St. John Fisher, 5-4, for back to back victories. Miller fought back from an 8-2 deficit in the third set super tiebreaker in her match against St. John Fisher to give the Lakers the win.
Corwin individually became the stand out on the team in her final season. After losing her first five matches of the year, she finished 7-2 in her last 10, with one match that was not completed. Three of those victories came at the SUNYAC championships, in which she went undefeated in singles play, earning the honor of being named Oswego State athlete of the week.
“I just played to my strengths, played more consistent and tried to play a little more aggressive than I did in the beginning of the season. I think that worked in my favor,” Corwin said.
As a captain and one of only two seniors on the team, Corwin played a huge leadership role for her young team. Fifth-year head coach Erin Skaradek believes that having such youth on her team was one of the factors that may have held them back. Yet, since they will only be losing two players, it is also what could make the Lakers stronger in the years to come. With the knowledge the players have gained, they will be able to apply it to their game and work together to improve, especially as Skaradek continues to recruit.
“Certainly the girls that come in are going to be talented,” Skaradek said. “I’m not going to have people on the team just to have people. I think the more talent we can add to the lineup, although we’ll continue to be young, will be able to help us contend in the SUNYAC.”
Corwin is looking forward to seeing how her former teammates perform in the years to come and believes that they have enormous potential. When Corwin arrived in Oswego her freshman year, Skaradek was coming off her first year as the head women’s tennis coach. As one of the only players to have played under her for all four years of her college career, Corwin attributes much of her success to Skaradek’s teachings.
“I think she’s a great coach,” Corwin said. “She definitely pushes us and she helps us get to our full capability.”
Skaradek, who is also an assistant coach for the Laker women’s basketball team, will look to continue pushing her players toward success, admitting that conditioning is one of the main areas with much room for improvement.
“I think that, being a basketball coach and a tennis coach, I understand the importance of conditioning,” Skaradek said. “I’ve told the girls if you’re in shape, you don’t have to worry about getting to that extra ball, you don’t have to worry about trying to get to the net. All you have to do is put the ball over one more time, and that’s kind of how simple tennis really is.”
Oswego State will begin its spring season in April, with a home match against Alfred State.