When a team loses five out of seven starters that almost always means that the focus for next year is on rebuilding. The UR women’s tennis team finds themselves in this situation.
Coming off of a rough fall season the women will look to rebound in the spring.
The squad will be led by junior captain Tara Pajoohi at the number one singles slot.
After Pajoohi is a core of newcomers — including freshmen Michelle Punj, Jill Adornetto, Alex Kravis, Jaymi Della, Nell Aronoff and Rochelle Stopczynski.
This young group will face tough competition all season. Key matches will include contests against UCAA opponents such as Skidmore College, Hamilton College and William Smith College. The team will use this schedule to toughen their skin and gain valuable matchplay experience. The team opened the spring schedule with a tough 5-2 loss against the University at Buffalo on Feb. 22.
The Yellowjackets were swept in the doubles matches, giving Buffalo the doubles point and putting the Bulls on top 1-0.
At number one doubles, Punj and Adornetto teamed together, but lost 8-5. At the number two position, Pajoohi and Della lost by a similar 8-5 margin. At third doubles, Stopczynski and Kravis fell by a score of 8-3.The matches were competitve but UR faired better in the singles matches, winning two of the six contests. Victories came by strong performances at number one and four singles, by Pajoohi and Kravis respectively.
At number one Pajoohi controlled the match and won by a convincing score of 6-3, 6-2. “Tara has been playing great tennis, coach Anna Khvalina said.
“It was really great for Tara to play so well in her first match at number one and to come away with a win as a result. She beat a Division I player who is most likely on scholarship, which is impressive.”In the other win, Kravis played a hard match and fought back after dropping the first set 4-6.
“Alex came out determined in the second set and took over the match,” Khvalina said. Pajoohi went on to win the match by taking the next two sets 6-3, 6-2.
As a whole Khavalina emphasized the vast improvement form the fall season. “In the fall we did not even come close to playing at the level we are capable of,” Khvalina said.
If the improvements continue to mount the team will come away with a positive season.
The team is very young, so continued work will be needed to successfully build on their young core. The next matches for the women will come when they face off against Bates College, Bowdoin College and Kenyon College this weekend.
Fitzsimmons can be reached at email@example.com.