Following the decision of nine student athletes to not return to the varsity tennis team, open tryouts were held on Jan. 28 to refill the roster in time for the spring season.
Possible hopes of reconciliation between former players and the Athletic Department were squashed when after only a few weeks of practice, the new team squared off against LeMoyne College at the Goergen Athletic Center indoor tennis courts.
“I’m extremely disappointed,” former player and junior Thanos Kanterelis said about the lack of a resolution with the athletic administration. “I feel like my tennis career is getting cut short by this and I am afraid that tennis players will be left behind.”
The holes to fill included four starting singles spots along with two doubles teams, which are normally held by those same athletes who play the singles matches. A total of four new players were on the starting roster for the match against LeMoyne, which the team lost 5-4.
Despite the upheaval, the new athletes say that team morale is high, and they are excited to improve as the season progresses.
“Team morale has been pretty high,” freshman Adam Crosby said. “We realized right off the bat that we are going to have a hard season ahead of us, seeing as how a few of us are a little rusty and some of us haven’t picked up a racket in a very long time. However, many of us are very excited to have the opportunity to play. Our goal is the same as every college team’s – to have a good season or at least to work our tails off trying to have one.”
Senior Michael Shepheard echoed Crosby’s sentiments.
“I’m very happy about the opportunity that was presented,” Shepheard said. “The morale is very good. We’re all having fun out there. We’re a little mad about our loss on Sunday, but we have a lot more matches and time to improve individually and as a team.”
The team is looking forward to bettering themselves, “get some wins and make a strong showing at the UAAs in April,” Shepheard stated.
While the new team has moved forward with their plans on the court, off-court incidents continue to cause a distraction. Recently, two tennis coaches filed security reports with UR Security and the Rochester Police Department.
Incidents that led to these filings included anonymous phone messages left for the coaches within the past two weeks. Last week, Associate Dean of Students Mathew Burns met individually with former members of the team in an effort to figure out who was responsible for the phone calls. According to sources close to the students, all nine of the former team members denied involvement in the act.
In addition, a Security officer has been present for at least one of the team’s practice sessions, according to sources close to the team; however, current team members could not confirm the presence of such personnel.
UR Security Investigator Dan Lafferty and Director of UR Security Walter Mauldin were not available for comment after normal business hours. Burns was also not available for comment. Investigations into the security issues are ongoing.Moeller is a member of the class of 2009.