Roommates and teammates since their freshman year, senior tennis stars and doubles partners Chloe Sher and Rocio Portela will look to continue their four-year long friendship following an end to their tenure at Seton Hall after this season’s Big East Conference Tournament.
The pair feels that their long-time relationship definitely gives them an edge on the tennis court. Always being with each other on and off the court gives them the opportunity to understand one another’s routines and thoughts.
“I can tell by her body language, her expressions whether she’s having a good day, bad day or whether she’s confident for the match or kind of scared for whoever we’re playing that day,” Portela said. “So it gives me that extra edge to be able to know how to talk to her that day and get the best out of her that I can.”
Knowing each other so well and being able to spend time together a lot off the court is key, but when it comes to style of play and personality on the court there seem to be a lot of differences. The team’s techniques, strengths and weaknesses are so different that it makes it easier for them. Sher sure thinks their opposite styles of play help them a lot.
“I think our game is different but it works well for us on the doubles court because, for example, Rocio has a good serve but I don’t, so on her serve I will be on the net and I will be ready to poach and win the point on the net,” Sher said. “And on my serve, my serve isn’t as strong so she knows when to defend and when to attack as well so I think having different styles of play definitely helps us because our opponent can’t really tell what’s coming.”
Coming from opposite sides of the world never seemed to present a problem either, as Portela hails from Demetrio Vega Baja, Puerto Rico and Sher from Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong. Both have emphasized that they traveled a lot and spent time away from their families before college so the independence and experience they gained was a very positive attribute to have when going to college in another country. “I think our culture is different, but because we used to travel overseas for junior tournaments we kind of know how it is like being away from our family, but at the same time playing competitive tennis and also balancing school,” Sher said.
Head coach Greg Wyzykowski said, “these two, good or bad are always supporting each other.”
Both girls will be concluding their time as Pirates on Friday as they will participate in their final Big East Championship. They both look to give it their all knowing that there is no next year and at the same time hope to leave a lasting mark on the tennis program.
“We’re excited to prove what we’ve got,” Portela said. “Since we got here we wanted to do something that makes history for the tennis program and the school has given so much to us that the least we can do is leave with a bang.”
Sher and Portela will be on the court to lead the sixth-seeded women’s tennis team against Xavier on Friday, April 25 at the 2014 Big East Championship in Flushing, N.Y.
Tom Zappia can be reached at email@example.com.